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Title: Jean Cabot at Ashton
Author: Scott, Gertrude Fisher
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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[Illustration: "WELL, I NEVER, A FRESHMAN ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH!"--_Page
23_.]


JEAN CABOT AT ASHTON

by

GERTRUDE FISHER SCOTT

Illustrated by Arthur O. Scott



[Illustration]

Boston
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.

Published, August, 1912

Copyright, 1912, by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.

All rights reserved
JEAN CABOT AT ASHTON

Norwood Press
Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood Mass.
U. S. A.



Contents


  CHAPTER                                          PAGE

       I. THE DAY BEFORE                              1

      II. HOW IT LOOKED ON WEDNESDAY                 14

     III. FIRST IMPRESSIONS                          31

      IV. THE FRESHMAN RECEPTION                     49

       V. INITIATION                                 78

      VI. THE HARVARD-YALE GAME                     102

     VII. THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAYS                 126

    VIII. THE CORAL BEADS                           154

      IX. THE CHAFING-DISH PARTY                    167

       X. THE COSTUME PARTY                         189

      XI. MIDYEAR'S                                 206

     XII. BEFORE THE FRESHMAN-SOPHOMORE GAME        224

    XIII. THE GAME                                  246

     XIV. THE BANQUET                               261

      XV. MR. CABOT'S VISIT                         280

     XVI. PRIZE-SPEAKING                            298

    XVII. THE TENNIS TOURNAMENT                     321

   XVIII. CLASS DAY                                 339



Illustrations


  "Well, I never, a freshman, asleep at the
  switch!" (Page 23)                           _Frontispiece_

                                                 FACING PAGE

  "Why, what are you doing here? We've been looking
  for you all over college"                               90

  "I don't know yet, Jean, but a man can do anything
  if he's educated"                                      152

  "Somebody open the south window, quick!"               178

  With a quick movement she threw it over the shoulder
  of her antagonist                                      258

  Natalie went after the last two games in whirlwind
  fashion                                                328



                         Jean Cabot at Ashton



                               CHAPTER I

                            THE DAY BEFORE


"Now, Tom dear, don't you do another single thing for me; I'm sure I
shall be all right, and Cousin Anna will meet me at the train in Boston
and then everything will be smooth sailing. You'll miss your train if
you wait another moment and blame me for it ever after, so good-by;
I'll write you as soon as I'm comfortably settled with Elizabeth
Frances Fairfax, in 45 Merton Hall."

"Well, so long, little sister; let me know if there's anything I
can do for you and we'll spend Thanksgiving together surely at Aunt
Sarah's, and may be, if you're very good, I'll come up and take you to
the Harvard-Yale the week before. You wouldn't mind going with that
good-looking room-mate of mine if I could persuade Connie Huntington to
accompany me, would you? It's only a few hours' run up to Boston, but
here are some chocolates and magazines in case you tire of the scenery.
Be game, little girl, and above every thing else, _make good_."

With these words Thomas Cabot swung off the train just in time to catch
a near-by accommodation train to convey him to Littleton Center, where
he was to join a merry house-party of young people. Jean quietly arose
from her seat and watched from the car window until her brother had
entirely disappeared from view, and then somewhat reluctantly turned
and resumed her former seat.

Brother and sister had come from Los Angeles to New York together, he
to enter upon his senior year at Yale and she to become a freshman
at Ashton College. Jean was the only daughter and youngest child of
a family of six. The four older brothers had been educated in the
West and were determined that the two youngest children should see
something of the life and culture of the East. Mrs. Cabot had died when
Jean was six, and although she had had governesses and accommodating
aunts and cousins galore to consider her welfare, still most of her
life had been spent in the company of her father and brothers, and when
they decided that she should go East to Ashton, a small college of
about five hundred strong, within twenty-five miles of Boston, she had
never for one moment doubted the wisdom of their choice, and acquiesced
as willingly as though Brother Will had said, "Jean, go get your racket
for a set of tennis."

From Los Angeles to New York, Tom and she had kept up a continuous
conversation on the "do's and don'ts" of college life, and at the
end of the journey Jean felt that she had a great advantage over the
other green freshmen, for she had been too carefully coached by her
brother to make any serious errors. Then, too, Cousin Anna Maitlandt,
a graduate of Ashton 1911, was to meet her at Boston and take her out
to college to see that she made a good beginning amid the strange new
surroundings.

Now Tom was gone, and for the first time that she could remember, Jean
was alone, face to face with the first big thing in her life. She
tried to read, but thoughts of home would persist in rushing in upon
her, and between the lines danced little pictures of life away out in
California. She wondered why she had come to college. Was it simply to
please her father and brothers or did she mean to make a success of
it for her own sake? She was fond of books and of study, but fond of
so many other things as well. What would there be in college to take
the place of her horseback rides over the ranch with the boys, her
evenings with her father in his den, her tennis, her weeks in camp in
the mountains, her whole free outdoor life? She knew little of girls
and cared less, for up to this time they had played a small part in her
life. To be sure, she had known them at St. Margaret's, her fitting
school, but she had spent as little time as possible there in order
to be at the call of the boys when they needed her, and you may be
sure some one of the five needed her most of the time. She was their
true confidante and they told her their little business worries and
successes, their love affairs, and their hopes and ambitions, for each
felt that his secret was safe with her. In spite of her tender years
and lack of real experience she seemed to be able to advise where many
an older person would have failed. And now she was leaving them all
behind and was wondering what they could do without her. The more she
thought, the more the longing came over her to give it all up and go
back to those she loved best.

Before she realized it two great tears were rolling down her cheeks
and as she was about to wipe them away a tall, handsome girl stood
before her, smiling down at her. "Isn't this Jean Cabot?" she asked,
giving her hand a cordial shake. "May I sit down here and talk a
little? You're going to Ashton College, aren't you? So am I. My name
is Allison, Marguerite Allison, 1914. Of course you're wondering how
I knew it was you. Well, I was sitting in the last chair of this
car and saw your brother as he bade you good-by. I met Tom last year
at the Yale Prom and I am sure he is going now to a house-party at
Littleton Center. I've just come from there and know all about it. I
was terribly disappointed not to stay over the week-end, but I'm on the
House Committee and just have to be back to-morrow. You know Student
Government just makes you do things. Belle Thurston, an old Ashton
girl, who is giving the house-party, told me she expected Tom this
evening, but he was stopping off in New York long enough to get his
sister Jean started for her year at Ashton. So that's how I knew it was
you. But tell me, dear, where are you going to live?"

By this time Jean's tears had dried and she had regained her usual
composure and quite firmly replied, "Oh, Miss Allison, I'm so glad to
know you; I was just beginning to get homesick, but you've saved my
life. I'm to live in Merton, 45, with Elizabeth Frances Fairfax. I got
my assignment just the day before we started."

"Merton; why, that's my house. Isn't it grand? 'Forty-five' is fourth
floor and mine is 27, second floor. As for Elizabeth Frances Fairfax,
she's probably another freshman from Massachusetts; name sounds like
one of those good old New England families. Massachusetts girls are
all right in spite of their strict old Puritan ancestors. I'm from
Cherokee, Iowa, but I haven't been home all summer. Really I haven't
any home to go to, for my father is interested in mines and is down
in Mexico most of the time. I stay with my aunt when I'm in Cherokee,
but this summer I've been visiting some of the college girls in New York
State and ended up at Littleton Center. And you've come all the way
from Los Angeles? I thought I'd come some distance, but it's nothing in
comparison with your trip. Most of the girls at college are Easterners,
but I'm sure you'll like them after you get used to their ways.

"What studies are you going to take? Can I help you with your program?
Come right into 27 as soon as we land and I'll fix things up for
you. Speaking of Massachusetts girls, you'll fall in love with my
room-mate, Natalie Lawton, just the minute you see her. She's from
Boston; lived there all her short life, not fifteen minutes' walk from
the Boston Public Library and Copley Square. Excuse me, of course you
don't know anything about Boston yet, but you will before you've been
a month at Ashton. Miss Emerson, she's college president, you know,
thinks there's no place on the whole earth quite like Boston, and it's
her especial delight to impress upon freshmen the advantages of being
so near to this wonderful city. The first time you hear her say, 'Now,
girls, remember the great advantages offered to you by being in such
close proximity to Boston,' you will think it rather significant, but
by the time you've heard it 576 times it will begin to grow a little
monotonous.

"Why, Miss Cabot, we're actually passing through Hyde Park, and we'll
be in the South Station in a few minutes. Hasn't the time gone quickly?
How many trunks have you and where are your checks? Let's be getting
our things together. I left my luggage up in the other end of the car,
so I'll go up and collect it and be back in a minute."

"Oh, thank you, Miss Allison, but my cousin, Miss Anna Maitlandt, has
promised to meet me at the train and I am sure she will help me with my
trunks."

"What! Anna Maitlandt, 1911, your cousin! Why, she lived in East Hall
her senior year when I was a freshman. I haven't seen her for perfect
ages, but she was my crush freshman year. How good it will seem to see
her again! And to think she's your cousin! How small the world is after
all! Here we are--follow me and I'll keep my eye open for Anna."

The long express train was crowded, but the two girls were quickly
out upon the platform and well up the track before a word was said.
Marguerite was well in the lead, when all at once Jean saw her drop her
bags and vigorously seize a rather petite girl, trim in her immaculate
white linen suit. By the time their greetings were over, Jean had
arrived on the scene and found herself as effusively greeted.

"So this is little Jean! Well, I never should have known you. Why,
you're as big as Tom, and look more like a senior than a green
freshie! No hazing you, my lady. Oh, what a prize for Ashton Athletic
Association! What is your specialty, Jean, tennis, basket-ball or
rowing? You'll make all three without half trying.

"Now, where are your trunk checks? We'll send the trunks out to Ashton
at once to have them waiting for us when we arrive. I'm going to take
you girls up town with me for dinner and a good talk, and Jean must go
out home with me for the night. To-morrow will be plenty early enough
for her to arrive. What say'st thou, Peggy?"

"Oh, Nan, you're a perfect dear to invite me, but really I can't
accept. You see I'm due out at Merton for a meeting of the House
Committee to-night. I stayed down at Littleton Center till the last
minute and now I've got to hustle back, for we've loads of work to
plan out. Drop into 27 to-morrow as soon as you arrive and make it
your headquarters until Jean's room is settled. Come down to the Inn
for lunch with me at noon. All of the old girls will be there and it
will be a good opportunity to introduce Jean to them. You know there's
nothing like knowing the right girls at the start.

"By the way, did you know that Bess McNeil was married last week? Oh,
I'm just brim-full of news to tell you, but it will have to wait till
later, for I must leave you now or I'll never catch the 5:09. So glad
to have met you, Nan; seems like old times, and I think your cousin
is a perfect dear. So long till to-morrow," and with this she dashed
across the station to a waiting taxicab which would convey her and her
bags across the city to the North Station.

Jean's trunks were soon re-checked and the two girls left the station
and took an uptown electric. Before long they alighted and entered
a quiet hotel where a good dinner was quickly served. Since Jean's
arrival the two girls had talked a steady stream, but the conversation
had centered almost entirely upon the families and home life of the
two. Now, however, it changed to the more important subject of
college. Anna did most of the talking, for it took a long time to
answer Jean's many questions. How much there was to be said. In fact,
Anna might have sat there all night discoursing on the joys and sorrows
of a college girl's life if a sweet-sounding clock had not reminded
her that in a very few moments the last suburban train departed for
Framington. Quickly she paid her bill and they were on their way again.

Although it was rather late when they arrived home, they found Mr. and
Mrs. Maitlandt waiting for them. After a most cordial greeting, Mrs.
Maitlandt suggested that they all retire, as it had been a hard day for
Jean and she must be fresh and rested for her first day at college.

After the good-nights had been said, Jean found herself alone in her
room a little bewildered in her new surroundings. Her poor body and
head ached as she had never known them to do before. To be sure,
everybody had been so good to her, but now they had all left her and
for the first time since she had left home she was alone. Quickly
undressing she put out her electric light and went over to the window.
It was a bright, starry night and as she gazed out upon its splendor a
wave of homesickness swept over her and she sobbed, "Oh, father and the
boys, why did I leave you? I wish I'd never promised to go to college."



                              CHAPTER II

                      HOW IT LOOKED ON WEDNESDAY


Bright and early Wednesday morning, Jean was up and dressed, for the
two girls had planned an early start in order to reach Ashton before
noon. Mr. Maitlandt, whose business took him into Boston every day,
accompanied them to the South Station and saw them safely on a North
Bound elevated. They easily caught the 10:17 train for Ashton and in
twelve minutes had arrived at the little station, where they found
"confusion worse confounded." Girls and trunks everywhere, irate and
tired expressmen trying to settle difficulties, small boys by the
dozens begging to carry suit-cases, wagons piled high with trunks and
packing-boxes.

They waded through the crowd and, as Anna spied Mr. Chapin, the express
agent, she hastened up to where he stood and said, "Good morning, Mr.
Chapin. Of course you remember me, Anna Maitlandt. No, I'm not back
for post graduate; I have only come out for a few days to see that my
cousin gets started properly as a freshman. Here are her trunk checks
and when you have time will you please see that they are taken up to
Merton, 45. Any time to-day will do, but of course we should like them
as soon as possible. Thank you." And he was off again before she could
say more had she wished to do so.

Just then they heard, "Why, Nan Maitlandt, what on earth are you doing
out here to-day?" and a tall girl darted round a pile of trunks. "I've
brought my young sister Bess to college and we're having a terrible
time. Only one of her trunks has come, and not a thing in it that she
really wants. We've been arguing with old Chapie for an hour, but it
doesn't do one bit of good."

"Nell, how like old times it seems. You always were in some kind of
trouble all our four years and it wouldn't be you if something wasn't
wrong. How many times do you suppose you lost one of your trunks, or
books, or hats, or themes, or tennis rackets? But you always found them
sooner or later and I'm confident your sister's trunk will turn up all
right. I want you to know my cousin, Jean Cabot, from Los Angeles. She
and your sister will be in the same class. Jean is to live in Merton.
Where is Bess assigned?"

"Poor child, she didn't make the campus this year and is to room first
semester at Mrs. McAllister's, but I hope second half she will get in
East or Wellington, for you know so many drop out at midyear's that
there's always a chance. How long will you be here? Can't you come down
to the Cottage with your cousin?"

"Thanks, Nell, but I expect to be very busy and I'm only here for a few
days. You know I begin hospital work at the Massachusetts General the
first of October and I need every minute at home. But I'll try to see
you somewhere if it's only for a few minutes. I want to hear all about
yourself and the other girls."

It took but a few moments to leave the little station and its confusion
behind them and Jean said, "Why, Anna, are we the last ones to arrive?
Everybody seems to be at the station."

"No, child, they're mostly freshmen. The upper-class girls won't
arrive until to-night or early in the morning. You know to-morrow is
registration day and classes won't meet until Friday and Saturday. Now
look straight ahead of you up the hill and you will get your first
view of the campus. Let me tell you some of the buildings even if you
don't remember them all. That tower is the chapel; the trees hide the
building itself, but we shall see it better as we climb the hill. The
white building is the new library, not quite finished as yet; to the
right is East, next to that College Hall; opposite is Wellington;
those dark-red buildings are the laboratories and away over beyond is
Merton. We will walk slowly up Faculty Row and get a closer view. The
rest of the dormitories are on the other side of the hill. Don't you
love the hill already? Aren't the trees wonderful? The leaves are just
beginning to turn and soon will be at their best. Wait till you see the
ivy on the chapel in its brilliant autumn coloring. Before long you'll
be racking your poor brain to sing its praises, for every one in Lit.
I has to write a sonnet on the glory of the ivy on the chapel tower.
Miss Whiting, 'prof' in Lit. I, is daffy on the subject and you'll find
her any time in the fall lingering in the shadows of the tower and
rhapsodizing on its beauty.

"Here's 'Prexy's' house. Isn't it dear? It was finished only last year
and modeled after a little English house in Stratford-on-Avon where
Miss Emerson spent several summers. Miss Thurston, the dean, lives
there with her. Be sure you get on the right side of Miss Thurston,
freshman year, Jean, and then you'll be safe for the other three."

"Other three! Why, Anna Maitlandt, I've only come to college for this
one year. Nothing on earth could make me stay any longer. I've made
up my mind on that subject, and when a Cabot once makes up his mind
he never changes it. I'll do the best I can this year, but when June
comes you can be sure I'll start for home on the very first train and
stay there the rest of my life."

"Oh, Jean, college hasn't begun yet. Wait till midyear's and I'll wager
by that time you'll be the most enthusiastic freshman on the hill, with
room-mate chosen and plans all made for sophomore year. College life
grows on you, and once it has made a start you can't stop it. I'm not
going to give you a bit of advice now, but just before I leave I've a
word or two for you.

"Here we are at old Merton. We have talked so much I forgot to point
out the other buildings. How do you like the looks of your new home? I
tried four of the dormitories and liked this the best of them all and
Mrs. Thompson is a gem of a matron. Let's go right in and see her now."

Mrs. Thompson's rooms were on the first floor opposite the parlors and
reading-room. She was a large, cheery woman who welcomed the girls in a
way that made them feel at home instantly.

"We haven't begun our regular meals yet for so few of the girls are
here, but I should be pleased to have you both lunch with me in my
sitting-room."

"Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, but we have promised to go down to the Inn.
Has Miss Fairfax, who is to be Miss Cabot's room-mate, arrived yet?"

"No; we received word this morning that owing to sickness in her family
she may be delayed several days. So if you like, Miss Maitlandt, you
may be Miss Cabot's room-mate until the real one arrives."

"Thanks; it will be quite like old days to be rooming again in Merton.
We'll go up directly, Jean," and they darted up the stairs. "Let's stop
in Peggy's room on second for a minute."

Stopping before 27, Anna gave a vigorous knock and receiving no
response opened the door and entered the room, followed by Jean.
Evidently both of the occupants had arrived, for the room was in
perfect order and presented a most attractive appearance. Anna walked
over to one of the desks and found a note addressed to herself.
Opening it she read aloud:

  "DEAR NAN: Natalie and I couldn't resist the call of the game and
  we're up on the courts for a set of tennis. Meet us at the Inn at one
  o'clock sharp. Hastily, PEG."

"Those two are fiends at tennis and Natalie won the college
championship last year and she was only a sophomore. Generally it goes
to a senior; in fact, Natalie is the first under-class girl to win the
honor. Wait till she's up against you, Jean. Oh, I have it, there's
something for you to work for. Why not be the first and only Ashton
freshman to win the Tennis Championship? You can do it if you try.
Why, Tom says you are the speediest girl player he ever saw, and for a
fellow to admit that a girl can play tennis means more than anything
else I know of.

"Well, what do you think of their rooms? The bedroom is just off at
this side. Evidently their enthusiasm waned when they finished the
study, for clothes are piled mountain high on their beds. It isn't fair
to criticize first day, though, so let's up to fourth."

As they walked slowly up the stairs, Jean said a little hesitatingly,
"Why, cousin, our rooms will never look like that unless my room-mate
has all those pretty things. I haven't any pictures except father's and
the boys' and they had pictures everywhere. And I haven't any flags or
tea-table or chafing-dish or pillows or anything attractive."

"Never mind that, Jean; it's easy enough to get such things. We'll put
the necessary things in order and then make a list of the other things
you want, and a trip in town to-morrow will purchase them all. Most
girls are not as fortunate as you in the matter of money, for I know
you can have anything money will buy. So don't worry about it at all.
Take my word for it, don't have too much in your room. The simpler the
arrangement, the better. First-year girls are apt to fill every inch
of space with pictures and souvenirs that senior year they would be
ashamed to own. You can always tell an upper-class girl's room at first
glance. You notice for yourself and see what it is that makes a room
attractive to you, and I think in the end you will agree with me.

"Why, 45 is locked and we haven't the key. You wait a minute here and
I'll run down and see Mrs. Thompson. Sit down on the suit-cases and
I'll be back before you can count ten."

But it was a good ten minutes before Anna returned, for she evidently
had some difficulty in finding the matron. For about five minutes Jean
sat alone and thought of everything but college, then she leaned back
against the wall and closed her eyes, for excitement had tired her a
bit. Suddenly a loud laugh aroused her and she heard, "Well, I never, a
freshman asleep at the switch! What's the matter, stranger, can I help
you?"

"No, thank you; I'm waiting for some one to come and unlock my door. We
couldn't find the key. My cousin has gone to find Mrs. Thompson."

"Well, in the meantime, come right over into my room. I'm to live just
opposite. My name's Remington, Midge, or, more properly speaking,
Marjorie Remington, 1915. Of course I'm a sophomore and your hated
enemy, but that needn't make any difference yet. Leave your bags right
there. Now sit down wherever you can find room. Looks pretty bad round
here, doesn't it, but you see I only arrived this morning. I've a
single this year. Couldn't stand another room-mate. Nearly died last
year with the three I had. First girl flunked out at Thanksgiving,
second's mother died and she left at midyear's, and the rest of the
time I had the greasiest grind in the class to live with. I never
studied and she always wanted to, so there was trouble from the start.
How are you on the study question?"

Before Jean could answer she heard Anna hurrying up the hall and she
excused herself quickly. The door of 45 was soon opened and the room
indeed presented a desolate appearance. To be sure, it was clean and
large and had plenty of windows, but the pieces of furniture were
merely stacked up in the center in one huge pile.

Jean simply gasped "Oh!" but before she could finish, Anna said, "Put
everything down in the corner and come over here and see the view."
Indeed, from the southeast corner window there was a wonderful view
of the surrounding country, and as here and there Anna pointed out
interesting places, Jean's attention was drawn from the bareness and
unattractiveness of the room to the beauty of the landscape.

"Now we'll not do a thing here until after lunch and then we'll work
like Trojans and get the place livable. How's your appetite? I'm nearly
starved. It's almost one o'clock, so we'll have to hustle to meet the
girls on time."

When they arrived at the Inn they found it thronged with girls, but
Marguerite was waiting for them and said that she had reserved a table
and that Natalie was waiting inside. They entered the dining-room and
were immediately seated in an extreme corner near a large window.
Introductions were soon over and Jean thought Natalie the most
attractive girl she had yet seen. She was her exact opposite in every
way, small, dark, with large dancing brown eyes and an abundance of
wavy brown hair. Her face and arms were brown as berries and just now,
when violent exercise had flushed her cheeks, the heightened color
came and went as she talked. Immediately she and Jean found a common
subject of conversation in tennis and Jean talked as she had not done
before with any one. Girls came up to their table with pleasant words
of greeting and passed on and before Jean was quite aware of it lunch
was over and they were on their way back to Merton.

Natalie and Jean walked together and soon Jean was telling her all
about the ranch and her early life there. When they reached the
dormitory the two juniors insisted upon going up to 45 to help put
things in order. "You know we juniors are your staunchest friends,
even-year classes against the odd years," said Natalie.

So up the stairs went the four and took possession of 45. They first
chose the bedroom furniture and placed it in the small adjoining room.
There were two white beds, two chiffoniers and two small chairs.
To tell the truth, the room could hardly have held any more, and it
required some care to place this amount so that there was any walking
space. "We can't make up the beds until your trunks are unpacked, so
let's tackle the study," said Peggy.

Out in the other room there was one large study-table, two small
book-cases, two desks, a large couch, and two comfortable rockers. Just
as they were moving some of these into place there was a knock at the
door, and Joe, the colored janitor, announced the arrival of Jean's
trunks. These he put in the middle of the room and unstrapped them.

"What! Three trunks? Aren't you the lucky girl to have enough to put in
them? It's all I can do to fill one," said Peggy Allison, whose love of
clothes was her greatest failing.

"Father insisted upon Aunt Molly's superintending my wardrobe, and all
summer long I've done nothing but try on clothes until I don't care
whether I ever see any more or not. That largest trunk has the few
things I brought for my room." From the top of the trunk she lifted
one box very carefully and showed the three girls the pictures of "her
family" as she called the five. Surely they were splendid examples of
American manhood, and one could not blame any girl for being loath to
leave them.

"Sometime soon I'm coming up to visit you, Miss Cabot, and I want you
to tell me all about your family and especially this member of it," and
Peggy held up the picture of the second son, Nelson Cabot, a somewhat
serious-looking fellow.

"Oh, Nels? Why, he's coming east on business in the winter and he has
promised to spend a week in Boston and give me the time of my young
life, as he says. Of course he'll come out here, and then you can see
him and judge for yourself. We all call him our 'serious brother,' but
he's got fun in him just the same when he gets started.

"Now let's make out a list of the things you really think I need for my
room. I'll do my share before my room-mate appears and she'll find such
a comfortable room that she'll be glad I arrived first. Now I want a
tea-table and 'fixings' like yours, Peggy, and a chafing-dish, some
ferns, rugs, curtains, pictures, a couch-cover, chairs"--and the girls
added one thing and another to the list until it was a very long one.
Jean detested shopping, and Anna made a most welcome promise to help
her out with the difficulties the following afternoon.

The two juniors were to be busy in the evening, so, left to themselves,
Jean and Anna enjoyed a long walk after supper. As they returned across
the campus, lights twinkled in the windows of the dormitories, happy
voices and the occasional burst of music floated out on the still
evening air. Once Anna stood perfectly still for several moments and
then exclaimed almost to herself, "Oh, how I love it all! How I wish I
were just beginning college! Oh, Ashton, how much you have done for me!"

Then with scarcely a word they approached old Merton and climbed slowly
to 45. "I told you, Jean, that before I left I was going to give
you a little advice. It's only this, Go slowly, choose the best of
everything, make the best of everything and love old Ashton better than
anything else in the world."



                              CHAPTER III

                           FIRST IMPRESSIONS


Jean awoke with a start and sat straight up in bed. "Don't be alarmed,
Jean," said Anna; "it isn't a fire; just the rising bell which rings
every morning at ten minutes before seven. There's another one at seven
and the breakfast bell at half-past. Of course no one needs forty
minutes to dress for breakfast, and before long you will be able to do
it in five, or ten at the most. Meals are served promptly here and Mrs.
Thompson is very particular about having every one on time. So if you
do oversleep I warn you that you'll get no breakfast unless you keep a
good supply of food in your room. And there's danger in that, too, for
mice fairly haunt these rooms, especially the closets and behind the
radiators, for that's a favorite dumping place for crumbs. I remember
the winter that our room seemed to be a regular gathering-place for
them, and once when I had one of the girls from home out here over
night we had a merry chase with five from under our beds before we
could get any sleep. One morning not long after that my room-mate found
one in her bed when she was making it up. She never knew whether it had
been there all night or not, but she very carefully examined her bed
ever after that before she got into it.

"Well, suppose we arise and take plenty of time to dress this morning
and make our best appearance at the breakfast table. You know first
impressions are often lasting and as most of the girls here are
upper-class girls I want them to see you at your best. Of course,
dear, you always look well; you can't help it any more than you can
help breathing, but this is a special occasion. Wear one of those
good-looking white linens I saw you hang up in the closet last night. I
must say I admire your Aunt Molly's choice of materials and dressmaker,
judging from the clothes I've seen so far. You must open the other
trunk and show me your best gowns before I depart. And by the way,
Jean, that must be to-night. We'll start in town early and have a good
afternoon of it and I'll leave you at the North Station on the right
train for Ashton. You won't mind the short ride out here alone, will
you? I'd love to stay the rest of the week, but you know how little
time I have left to finish my preparations for the hospital, and I
wouldn't be found deficient for anything.

"Of course you take a cold bath every morning; any one could tell that
just to look at you. Well, hustle into the bath-room now, for I just
heard some one leave it. When you're finished, please draw the water
for me."

As the two girls entered the long dining-room they found most of the
seats at table occupied, for they were a bit late in spite of their
thirty minutes. However, Mrs. Thompson was always lenient first
mornings and greeted them with a pleasant smile. "You will sit at the
end of the second table, Miss Cabot, and your cousin may sit beside you
this morning, as Miss White, who will have that seat permanently, has
not yet arrived."

"Oh, I had hoped that would be my room-mate's seat. Where will she sit?"

"Why, of course you didn't know that Miss Fairfax is to wait on table
here and so will not have a regular table seat."

At these words Jean's expression changed and she looked so astonished
that Anna said softly, "You know, dear, some of the girls who haven't
much money pay their board by waiting on table. Lots of girls do it,
and it's perfectly all right. Some of the best girls I ever knew worked
their way through college." Jean said nothing, but she was bitterly
disappointed. Why couldn't her room-mate have been Miss Remington or
some one equally attractive? She was already beginning to wish that
she'd been fortunate enough to draw a single room.

If Nan Maitlandt had wished to have her cousin make a favorable
impression on the other girls in Merton she certainly succeeded in
doing so. Jean was tall and broad-shouldered, with a splendidly
developed figure, a perfect picture of health and strength. She had
masses of yellow hair which she wore this morning coiled in thick
braids round her well-shaped head. Her eyes were dark and her skin,
naturally fair, was now somewhat tanned from her out-of-door life. She
wore a severe white linen dress with a turned down collar and a bow
of black which set off her style of beauty to perfection. She carried
herself well and with head held high in the air she had entered the
room almost unconscious of its occupants. The girls stared for a moment
and then whispered comments on her beauty and wondered who she could
be. Mrs. Thompson soon went the rounds of the tables introducing the
new girls until at length everybody knew everybody else.

There were about a hundred girls seated at the three long tables and
only here and there appeared a vacant seat. At Jean's table there were
five freshmen besides herself, and much to her satisfaction she soon
discovered her acquaintance of the day before, Miss Remington, half way
down the other side of the table. Peggy Allison and her room-mate were
at the first table at the opposite end from Jean, but they waved her a
hearty welcome, even at that distance. She looked at the girls around
her laughing and talking and seeming so perfectly at home and she had
to admit to herself that they were a happy lot and if so many girls
found college such good fun there ought to be something in it for her.
Most of the conversation at her end of the table seemed to be on summer
vacations and proposed studies for the coming year. Just beyond Nan sat
a freshman named Miss Samson, who after some deliberation found the
courage to lean forward a little and ask Jean if she had decided what
studies to take. Jean answered cordially in the negative and added that
her cousin was to help her choose them later on. She was conditioned in
French, so she supposed she'd have to take that, although she hated it
thoroughly.

After breakfast the girls collected here and there about the
reading-room and halls in little groups. Miss Remington came up at
once to where Jean was standing and talked casually about her room and
trunks and then asked her how long her cousin would remain with her.
Upon hearing that she was to leave that evening she promised to spend
the night with Jean, so she wouldn't get lonesome. Jean was delighted,
for to herself she admitted that Marjorie appealed much more to her
than any of the other girls she had met, excepting, perhaps, Natalie
Lawton. She hoped they were going to be good friends even if they were
not in the same class.

Registration was to be at ten o'clock and Nan suggested that they go
up to 45 and talk over studies before Jean made out her programme.
She had arranged some tennis with Peggy and Natalie at ten-thirty and
then after lunch they would take the first train for Boston. Nan had
been a good, all-around girl in college, but had maintained a high
standard in her studies and was anxious to have Jean do the same,
but she was discovering that Jean cared very little for her books.
Every freshman was required to take English and mathematics and had
the choice of the other subjects. As Jean had been conditioned in
French her cousin suggested that she begin at once to remove the
condition. By satisfactorily completing a course in French at the end
of the year this could be done. Jean agreed to this and then after
much discussion she decided to add German, oratory and music to the
list, with gymnasium work twice a week. Mathematics and German were
to come Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings; French and English,
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings; oratory once a week on a day
to be announced later; "gym" two hours each on Tuesday and Thursday
afternoons and music two hours a week when she could arrange it with
the instructor.

"That looks like a pretty stiff programme to me, Nan," said Jean; "I
don't see any time in the week for anything but studying. A girl can't
study all the time, you know. I want to do other things, too."

"You will find plenty of time for other things, dear, for this isn't
a very hard programme. You will find any number of girls taking more
than you have. You'll have every Saturday afternoon free, and generally
the girls go in town to the theater that day. Boston always has all
the best plays and music and there are Wednesday matinées, too. I
don't advise cutting recitations, but once in a while when there's
something worth while it won't do any harm. Then, Friday afternoon is
Symphony rehearsal, which you must hear once in a while. The faculty
very often advise the girls to attend certain performances and are very
willing to chaperon them. Speaking of the faculty, I think you are
going to enjoy all of yours, for I had them all with the exception of
Miss Whittemore, the gym instructor, who is new this year, and I can
vouch for them. My advice is to work hard at the beginning of the year,
get the principles of the study and a good foundation and the second
half-year will come easy. Don't let things slide, for it's awfully hard
to make up a lot of work in a short time. If you must cut classes or
chapel, cut consistently. To-morrow morning you will meet some of the
instructors and have lessons assigned for next week. Things will hardly
be in running order before a week, so you can take your own time for a
few days. Now we'll start for the office and get registration off our
hands. Is your programme written out carefully; ready to pass in to
the clerk? Let's stop for the other freshmen on our way downstairs so
we can all go together."

Nan and her six charges hurried up the hill as the college clock rang
out its ten strokes. The office was crowded and each girl had to pass
in single file before the registrar. It took some time for Jean to
reach the desk and when at length it was her turn to sign her name to
the great book and pass her programme to the waiting clerk she gave a
sigh of relief. Now she was a freshman and the year had actually begun,
and there was no turning back. Hurriedly the six girls were shown over
College Hall and Nan pointed out the mathematics room and then the
French room and so on until they all knew where to go on the following
days. In one of the rooms on the third floor they met Miss Whiting, and
as Nan had always enjoyed her courses in spite of some rather marked
peculiarities, she was glad to stop and talk with her and have her know
her charges. They talked a few moments, long enough to have her ask the
girls if they had yet seen the ivy on the chapel tower. Nan had to
admit that as yet they had not, pleading as her excuse that she wished
them to see the chapel for the first time the following day at chapel
exercises. Remembering her tennis appointment, Nan invited the other
freshmen to accompany Jean and herself to the courts, but as they had
their rooms to settle and letters to write they returned to the hall.

Soon the two reached the courts and found plenty of girls enjoying the
game. They had time for two sets in which Jean showed her skill and she
and Nan easily defeated their opponents, causing Peggy to exclaim, "You
see, Nat, it's as I said, you'll have to work hard for championship
next year."

The afternoon passed all too quickly for Jean. Nan knew just what
stores to shop in and just what to buy and before she realized it the
long list had been bought and ordered to be sent out to Merton. They
had time for tea in a quiet little English tea room which Nan often
frequented, and here she told Jean some of her own plans for the future
and how she had decided to take up hospital work. Her conversation
revealed quite another girl from the light-hearted one of the last two
days, and Jean found herself admiring her cousin more than ever.

"You must come in to see me whenever I have time off and you can
arrange it. I shall feel the greatest interest in your life at college,
for in a way I feel responsible for it. There are many things I might
have told you, but I am going to let you meet problems and solve them
by yourself. Now we must start for the station or we'll miss the train."

When they reached the station Nan said that she knew they would find
friends on the train, but Jean pleaded to be left alone, for she wanted
to think things over by herself. Nan stayed until the train pulled out
of sight and then gayly started homeward, saying to herself, "I'll bet
on Jean every time. She'll have no end of trouble, but she'll come out
all right in the end."

When the train drew into the Ashton Station Jean alighted with the
others and as she stepped off the train she found Marjorie Remington
waiting for her.

"I thought you'd be out on this train, so I came down to meet you." So
saying, she put her arm through Jean's in a friendly manner and they
started up the hill.

"Supper isn't for half an hour yet; let's take a walk and see the
sunset from the hill. I never stay in the 'dorm' when there's any
possible excuse for being out of doors. Thank goodness there's no
lessons until next week. Have you promised to do anything Saturday
afternoon?"

"No," said Jean.

"Well, I want you to spend it with me then in town. I'll get tickets
for 'The Spring Maid'; everybody's wild about it. Are you fond of the
theater?"

"Yes, but I've never been very often except once in a while with father
or one of my brothers. We live some distance out of the city and it's
pretty hard getting home after the theater."

"Oh, I'm just crazy over it, and never miss a Saturday afternoon if I
can help it."

"I'm going to ask Mrs. Thompson if I can change seats with Miss White
and sit next to you at table. I've no use for the girls who sit on
either side of me and I'd much rather sit beside you. Let's go to
supper now, this walk has made me hungry as a bear. Wait a minute in
the hall while I speak to Mrs. Thompson about changing."

When Marjorie returned she looked anything but pleased and exclaimed,
"Just like her, says she has assigned the seats and doesn't want to
change them even for one meal. Well, I sha'n't tell her that we're
going to room together to-night, for I suppose she'd put her foot down
on that, too. She's certainly the crankiest individual I ever ran up
against."

As the two girls entered the dining-room, arm in arm, several of the
older girls smiled and looked knowingly at each other. Peggy Allison
seemed a bit worried, as she whispered to Natalie, "Midge Remington's
up to her old game again, always appropriating the best-looking girl in
the place. We'd better look out or we'll lose this Jean Cabot."

After supper, one of the girls went over to the piano and began
playing a dreamy waltz. The chairs were moved to one side and several
of the girls began to dance. Natalie came up to Jean and asked her for
the waltz. "You'll have to lead, Miss Cabot, you're so tall. Why, it
will be almost as good as dancing with a man, you're so big and strong."

"I don't know how to lead, Miss Lawton. I never have danced with girls
before."

"Well, I'll show you over here at one side. You'll have to content
yourself here dancing with girls, for we only have men on state
occasions, which are few and far between." And the two left the others
for a little lesson in leading. It did not take Jean long to learn, and
soon they were swinging over the floor with the others.

"Why, Miss Lawton," exclaimed Jean as the music stopped, "I wouldn't
have believed it could be such fun to dance with girls and lead. Won't
she play some more music?"

"Yes, we generally dance half an hour after supper every evening and
the girls take turns playing. Will you play for us some times? Nan
says you play beautifully. In Merton we believe in making every girl
do all she can for the good of the rest. If I don't see you again
while you're dancing I want to invite you down to 27 Saturday evening
to meet some of my friends and a few of the freshmen. I hope your
room-mate will have arrived by that time; if so, please invite her for
me, although I shall try to see her myself. Thanks for this splendid
dance." And she hastened on to another freshman.

Jean had plenty of opportunities to dance and at the last dance
Marjorie Remington came up to her and said, "Now for my turn. I've been
waiting patiently all the evening. You seem to be in great demand."

After the dance was finished the two girls went up to Marjorie's room;
several of the other girls dropped in and made themselves comfortable
in the rather close quarters.

"Have some chocolates, girls," said Marjorie as she passed them a large
five-pound Huyler's box. "Wasn't it good of Jack to leave this with me
at the train?" Everybody but Jean seemed to know who Jack was, but she
asked no questions and the conversation changed from one subject to
another. Suddenly there came a knock at the door. As Marjorie opened it
the girls saw Mrs. Thompson standing in the hall with a shy, timid girl
behind her.

"Is Miss Cabot in your room, Miss Remington? I saw you go up the stairs
together. I should like her to meet her room-mate, Miss Fairfax, who
has just arrived."

Jean left the room and the merry group assembled there and went
somewhat reluctantly into 45. Introductions were soon over and Mrs.
Thompson left the two girls together. Jean soon learned that it was
Elizabeth's brother who had been ill with typhoid fever, but his
condition was so much improved that she was no longer needed at home.
She was very tired, for it had been five long weeks that she had helped
to care for him, but she felt she must leave for college as soon as
possible in order not to miss any more than was absolutely necessary.
Could she go to bed at once, she asked, and leave all her unpacking
until the next day? Jean helped her as best she could and before long
she was sound asleep in the little white bed and Jean stole softly back
into Marjorie's room.

The girls had left and she found Marjorie propped up on the couch
writing a letter.

"Come right in. I'm only writing to Jack to thank him for the
chocolates. Well, isn't it a shame to have our plans for to-night
spoiled? What do you think of your room-mate? Isn't she awful? Worse
than any of mine. Did you notice her hat? Where do you suppose she
hails from? Hard luck for you, that's all I've got to say. Well, make
yourself at home in my room any time you want to, whether I'm here or
not."

"Yes, she is a disappointment, but perhaps things will look different
in the morning. Good night, I guess I'm tired, too," and Jean left the
room and was soon sleeping quietly in the other white bed in 45.



                              CHAPTER IV

                        THE FRESHMAN RECEPTION


Although Elizabeth was as careful as possible, her moving to and
fro between the two rooms awakened Jean, who, after wishing her
good-morning, offered to arise and help unpack.

"No, Miss Cabot," replied Elizabeth, "it's only five o'clock; please
don't think of getting up yet. I am used to rising early, for I've been
up every morning all summer at five. I'm sorry to have disturbed you.
Can't you get to sleep again? You know I'm to wait on table this year
and Mrs. Thompson wishes me to be in the dining-room at seven to help
in setting the table. I thought I would unpack my trunk and suit-case
before breakfast, for there will be so much for me to do to-day I
probably won't have another opportunity. If you will tell me where to
put things I can get right at work now. Would you mind if I called you
by your first name, it seems so strange to say 'Miss' to the girl I'm
to live with all the year? My name is Elizabeth."

Instantly Jean arose and put on a white silk kimona, splashed with
great pink roses, slipped her feet into some dainty pink silk quilted
slippers and then led the way into the study, where she sat down in the
only empty chair. "Why, of course I want you to call me by my first
name, Elizabeth; it's Jean. How do you like the arrangement of the
rooms so far? My cousin and two of the juniors helped me with it. It
looks very bare, but we bought a lot of things in town yesterday and as
soon as they are sent out we can finish settling. That is your desk and
bookcase and here is your clothes closet. I borrowed one or two of your
hooks, for I couldn't seem to find room enough in my own closet. I'll
take the dresses down now and put them back in the trunk."

"Oh, please don't, Jean; all my dresses together won't fill the hooks
on one side of the closet. You're welcome to this whole side."

"Thank you. Now you can put your pictures and banners anywhere you
choose. We want to make our room as attractive as possible so our
friends will be glad to come and see us."

"I'm afraid I haven't many attractive things for the room. I didn't
know much about college girls' rooms, and besides if I had known I
couldn't have brought them. Father is only a country doctor and could
hardly afford to send me to college at all. It will be a struggle to go
through the four years, but I mean to do it if hard work counts.

"I've never known a real mother, for two years after mother's death my
father married again when I was six and Brother four. Since then we've
had a home and that's about all as far as a mother's concerned. Father
is away most of the time and doesn't know all that happens during
his absence, but we know and never can forget. Fathers don't seem to
understand children very well. Perhaps Brother and I have been more to
each other than most brothers and sisters, for we had to make up for
all that we missed in others. That's the hardest thing for me in coming
to Ashton--to leave Brother at home sick with the fever. He means to
go to college, too, sometime, and after two years here I hope to be
able to teach at home and help him with his education. I don't know why
I'm telling you all this, for I guess it doesn't interest you at all."

"Yes, it does, Elizabeth, for my mother is dead, too, and I have five
brothers and the best father in all the world, and I'm here to please
them, but you can believe I'm going back to them after one year of it."

"What! You could go four years and graduate if you wanted to, and
instead you're only going freshman year? Why, I'd give everything in
the world if I could go through the four years. I've thought of asking
permission to take extra work this year and next, and then if anything
should happen that I could come back a third year I could do the four
years' work in three and graduate. I want a college diploma so much
I'll do anything to get it. But if it's a question of Brother's giving
up a year or of my doing so, it will not be he, for it seems as though
he were always the one to make the sacrifice.

"Have you decided what you are to take this year? There are so many
things I want to take I hardly know what to choose. Tell me your
programme. Wouldn't it be fine if we had the same courses, then we
could study together?"

"I'm going to take as little as I can, for I hate studying. I think
my cousin Nan has made me out too stiff a programme and I'll have to
drop something before I flunk out. I want to keep up my music, anyway,
and practising does take a lot of time. Besides, I have English and
mathematics and German and French and of course oratory and gym,
because they're snap courses."

"I shall take Latin instead of your French, but the other subjects are
what I want, too. In place of your music I'd like some history, for
that's my favorite study. I've read everything I could lay my hands
on in the history line and never could get half enough. I've longed
for the college library with its rows upon rows of books. If ever I'm
missing, be sure to look for me in the library. Do you suppose my being
a day late will make any difference with my work?"

"No, child, for all we did yesterday was to register and pass in
our programmes. You sent them word that you were delayed at home by
sickness in the family and won't be fined, but ordinarily when we fail
to register on time we are fined five dollars. To-day we are to go to
the classes which usually meet on Friday. I have mathematics at nine
and German at ten, and probably you will be in the same divisions. It's
mighty hard to think of studying these glorious days. How I'd enjoy a
twenty-mile horseback ride over the hills this morning! I wonder where
I could hire a horse and if any of the other girls ride."

"Why! you wouldn't cut your recitations the very first day, would you,
Jean?"

"No, I suppose not, but I'd like to mighty well. Don't be surprised at
anything I ever do. Sometimes I fear I can't stand this living by rules
and regulations. I've always done just what I wanted to and when I
wanted to, and I shall probably forget to ask permission to do things,
especially of other girls. I'm not so sure that I approve of student
government."

"Why, it seems to me the fairest way, and I'm sure you will like it
after you become used to it. Now that I've finished unpacking I think
I'll just write a few lines to Brother, for he'll be waiting very
impatiently for my first letter. Can't you go to sleep again?"

"No, I think I'll write letters, too. I haven't had a minute before,
and I promised Tom and father faithfully that I'd write to them." And
soon the two girls were writing as though their life depended upon
it, and did not stop until the rising bell sounded. Elizabeth was as
startled as Jean had been on the previous morning, but it did not take
long to explain it to her. Soon she started downstairs for her duties
in the dining-room, but hesitated a little and said, "Jean, may I go to
chapel with you this morning?"

"Yes, we freshmen in the house agreed last night to go together; our
seats are to be in the right aisle directly back of the sophs. They say
ours is the largest entering class on record, so some of us may have to
sit in the annex. Let's go by a quarter-past eight, anyway, so as to be
in the main chapel. After chapel exercises I'll take you to the office
and help you with your registration."

When the seven freshmen from Merton walked up to chapel, six of them
felt very green indeed, but Jean held her head high and displayed her
usual composure. But when they took their places with the other three
classes and at a given signal rose while the hundred or so seniors in
cap and gown marched slowly down the center aisle to their seats on the
left, Jean felt for the first time the insignificance of a freshman and
wondered just how it would seem to be a senior.

Miss Emerson welcomed the incoming class in such a way that Jean felt
drawn to her at once. She was not at all what she had pictured a
college president to be, and there was something so sweet and lovable
about her that Jean thought she came nearer to the mother she had
always pictured to herself than anybody else she had ever seen. Most
of the faculty seats were occupied, and Jean noticed that many of the
professors were young and good-looking in spite of their degrees and
reputed knowledge.

After chapel Jean and Elizabeth hastened to the registrar's office and
Elizabeth was enrolled as a freshman. Just as they were leaving the
building two seniors in cap and gown stopped them and one of them said,
"This is Miss Cabot and her room-mate, Miss Fairfax, is it not? I am
Miss Wright and this is Miss Farnsworth. We would like to invite you
to be our special guests at the senior reception to the freshmen and
faculty on a week from Monday evening in the Gym. You live in Merton, I
believe? We will call for you there at about half-past eight."

The two freshmen were glad to accept the invitation, and after a few
general remarks about recitations the seniors hurried away.

"Jean, did you notice the little star-shaped pins both of those seniors
wore on their shirtwaists? What are they for?"

"I suppose they must be their society pins. Societies are like
fraternities in the men's colleges. They are secret organizations, and
about twenty-five girls belong to each one. I don't know much about
them except what Tom told me."

"Oh," said Elizabeth, "I should like to join one, wouldn't you?"

"I guess it isn't for us to say, Elizabeth. You see, the girls are very
particular whom they ask, and only a few are chosen from each class."

"Oh, you'll be chosen, Jean; you needn't worry about that."

"I'm not so sure about it. I suppose it will soon be time for
mathematics. O dear, how I dread it! Your division doesn't meet to-day,
does it? You ought to be thankful for that. I'm going upstairs now to
see where Room 21 is. Good-by; see you later."

At the top of the stairs she met Marjorie Remington, who stopped her.
"Oh, Miss Cabot, have you received your invitation to the freshman
reception yet?"

"Yes, Miss Wright and Miss Farnsworth just stopped Elizabeth and me
downstairs and invited us to go with them."

"Oh, you should feel much honored, for they are two of the most popular
girls in the senior class, and Miss Wright is class president. But I
think the reception is an awful bore, just standing around and meeting
a lot of girls and faculty you don't care anything about, and dancing
in between times. Still a freshman makes a big mistake to cut it, and I
advise you to go.

"What's your first recitation--can I take you to the class room?
There's the bell now. But wait a minute. Here comes a girl I want you
to meet. It's Lill Spalding, sophomore basket-ball captain and one
of the nicest girls in North Hall. I've invited her in town with us
to-morrow."

The three girls became so interested in their plans for the following
day that Mathematics I. was almost forgotten, and when Marjorie
remembered she was to show Jean the room it was fully five minutes
after the hour.

Stopping before a door marked "21" Marjorie said, "Here it is, and Miss
Hooper is in charge. Oh, she's fierce; I pity you. I had Miss Baldwin,
who's a regular cinch. I'll meet you here at the end of the hour if you
like."

As Jean entered the room Miss Hooper was just reading the class list
and she heard "Miss Cabot" ring out distinctly in the stillness of the
large room.

"Here," said Jean, and she sank into the only vacant chair in the front
row directly in front of the desk.

Miss Hooper paused, looked up quickly from her class book and said
sharply, "Five minutes late. A very bad beginning, Miss Cabot; remember
hereafter, please, that this class meets promptly at nine o'clock."

It was on Jean's tongue to say that she had lost her way, but something
restrained her. Miss Hooper explained that the work of the year would
be divided into three parts, algebra the first third of the year,
geometry the second, and trigonometry the last. The class were to
use Wells's College Algebra, which they could buy at the college
book-store. The first lesson would be the problems on page 47.

"And now, class, let us spend the rest of the hour reviewing a little.
Miss Cabot, you may explain what is meant by the 'binomial theorem.'"

Poor Jean tried to collect her scattered senses enough to answer the
question. She remembered there was such a thing as this binomial
theorem, but what it was she could not have told had her life depended
upon it. After waiting as long as she dared she answered in a low
voice, "I do not know." Miss Hooper looked annoyed and repeated the
question to Miss Caldow, next on the list, who, to Jean's disgust,
jumped on her feet and recited glibly and entirely to Miss Hooper's
satisfaction.

"Very well done, Miss Caldow. I see no reason why the entire class
should not be perfectly familiar with the theorem. No one can expect
to do any kind of work in advanced algebra unless she has a thorough
foundation in the elementary work. Miss Cabot, you will please look up
the binomial theorem and be prepared to recite it at the next meeting
of the class."

Jean thought the hour would never end, but when at last the class was
excused she rushed from the room almost into the arms of Marjorie
Remington who was waiting for her just outside the door. "Well, honey,
how did Mathematics I. go?"

"Terribly. I never want to see Miss Hooper again and I'll not take
her old mathematics course another day. I don't know anything about
algebra, and she pounced on me first one to explain the binomial
theorem, and because I didn't know it she insulted me before the whole
class."

"Just like her. Isn't she the most sarcastic person you ever knew? She
can say more hateful things in fifteen minutes than any one I know. Why
don't you drop mathematics and take something else in its place? You
can take it up again next year."

"Next year, indeed; thank goodness I'll be far away from Ashton College
by that time! One year's enough for me. But tell me, can I really drop
mathematics?"

"Sure you can. I dropped Latin the first day last year and I'm just
beginning it again, but I doubt if I ever pass it. All you've got to
do is to go down to the office and give some reasonable excuse for
dropping mathematics and offer something else in its place. They don't
care when you take the required subjects as long as you finish them
before senior year."

"But what can I take instead of mathematics?"

"Miss Cushing has a fine course in philosophy first half-year, and
psychology second half. It's a lecture course, only her exams are
stiff, but if you read up in her book in the library you'll get by all
right. If you're only going to be here one year you don't care much for
making records, do you?"

"No. Leave that to my room-mate, she's out for real study and nothing
else. Aren't we the great combination? But still there's something
about her I like; and I pity her, too, for she's had a hard time all
her life. I nearly forgot, I have a German recitation now, so I'll have
to leave the mathematics proposition until later."

German was delightful, as Fräulein Weimer in her broken English
explained the work of the year and then talked to the class in German,
telling them stories and quoting poems. Jean felt a little calmer
as she left the room, but with the memory of her first recitation
still burning in her mind she hurried to the office. She explained
to the secretary that she felt so poorly prepared in mathematics that
she wished to leave that work until another year and take philosophy
in its place. She understood that mathematics, although a required
subject, could be taken any one of the first three years. She was given
permission to do as she wished, and hastened to Miss Cushing's room to
make further arrangements. In the hall she met Miss Hooper, who stopped
her and said, "Am I right in understanding that Miss Anna Maitlandt is
your cousin? Do tell me where she is and what she is going to do this
year. I have wanted to know very much, but have not heard from her all
summer."

"Yes," replied Jean, "Miss Maitlandt is my cousin and she was out here
on Wednesday and Thursday, but was obliged to return to Framington
early because she is to enter the Massachusetts General Hospital the
first of October to begin a three-years' training course. She was
abroad all summer and only returned last week, so she has a great deal
to do in a short time."

"Oh, I am so sorry not to have seen her, for I always enjoyed her
so much. What does she mean by burying herself in a hospital? She's
altogether too brilliant for that." Just then some one came up to ask
Miss Hooper a question and as she excused herself Jean passed on,
muttering to herself, "Horrid old thing! I suppose she wants to impress
upon me how brilliant my cousin was here. Wait till she misses me in
mathematics on Monday and perhaps she'll realize she can't make her
cutting, sarcastic remarks to every freshman in college."

The days were full and happy ones, and Monday night arrived with
the annual freshman reception. After supper Marjorie Remington went
upstairs with Jean and offered to help her dress. "What shall I wear,
Marjorie?" said Jean.

"All your dresses are such perfect dreams I don't know which one I like
the best. But let me have another look at them. Dangerous business,
though, letting me see them, for I may be tempted to borrow some of
them one of these days. Now, after all, I think this figured chiffon
is the best for to-night, it's so different from anything I have ever
seen. I'm crazy to see you in it."

It did not take long for Jean to do her hair and get into the chiffon
dress. It was a peculiar chiffon, a light pink background shot with
black and pink roses made up over a soft pink silk lining. The dress
was low and showed off to advantage Jean's firm white throat and neck,
and the sleeves came just above her elbows. The skirt reached only to
her ankles and her stockings and slippers were of a delicate pink.
Around her neck on a narrow band of black velvet was a small diamond
star which sparkled with wonderful brilliancy. "There, will I do?"
and she danced over gayly to Marjorie, who lay on the couch as though
exhausted after her labors.

"Do? Why you are the most wonderful creature I've ever seen! You'll
take everybody by storm. Wait till Jack sees you. I'm going to make him
invite us out to his frat's first dance. You see, Jack's at Harvard
and knows all the big men in his class. I have the best times in the
world whenever I can get out there for anything. The only trouble is
it's such awful hard work getting off the hill for the night. One of
my aunts lives in Newton and she's perfectly willing to chaperon me or
let me stay at her house all night, but she travels so much of the time
that she's always away when I want her most. I hate taking one of the
faculty with me, for they're such awful sticks. I don't see any need of
chaperons anyway, but they'd make an awful fuss out here if a girl went
anywhere without them."

Just then the door opened and a cheery voice began, "Have you started
dressing yet?" but when the eyes of the speaker fell on the vision of
loveliness before her she stopped short and just gazed.

Miss Remington arose, saying, "I guess it's time for me to go, I'm not
needed any longer. Hope you'll have a good time, Miss Cabot," and she
brushed by Elizabeth and banged the door after her.

"Oh, Jean, have I interrupted you? I didn't mean to. Miss Remington
seems to have taken a violent dislike to me. What have I done to her?"

"Nothing, Elizabeth; she doesn't mean anything, but she's rather
brusque at times, I guess."

"How beautiful you look, Jean, but I can't go with you. I haven't
anything except my graduation dress and you'll be ashamed of me in
that."

"Nonsense, child; let me help you dress. You'll be too sweet for words
in that dainty white muslin I saw hanging in your closet. Let me do
your hair low and tuck this rose at one side; it will bring out the
color in your cheeks. And I've a coral pink sash I'm going to drape
around your waist and with those coral pink beads father gave me just
before I started you'll be a symphony in white and pink."

Indeed she did look sweet in her simple white gown and excitement made
her big eyes sparkle more than was their wont. "Do you know, Jean, I've
never been to a real big reception like this before. I can't dance, but
I shall enjoy just sitting and watching the others. Sometime I hope
to learn if I ever have the time. It's only eight now, we have half an
hour before the girls will come for us. Let's read over some German. I
haven't quite finished the assignment."

"Not to-night, Elizabeth. I'm not in the mood for studying. Perhaps
I'll get up early in the morning and read over a little with you. I
made a good recitation to-day and that ought to do for a while. I'm
going over in Marjorie's room; you can call me when the girls arrive."
Elizabeth sat down at her desk to study alone, a little disappointed
in Jean, for she knew she had been playing tennis all the afternoon
and had made no preparation for the next day. After she had read about
three pages a maid announced the arrival of their escorts, so she
called Jean and the two girls hastened down the stairs.

It did not take long to reach the Gymnasium, which was ablaze with
lights. As they entered the main hall they paused to survey the scene
of beauty before them. The massive building was transformed into
a vast autumn out-of-doors, for golden rod and purple asters and
bright-colored leaves were everywhere. The orchestra was concealed at
one end of the hall, and played softly as the seniors introduced their
guests to each other and to the faculty.

Jean and Elizabeth were given dance-orders, but Elizabeth timidly said,
"I don't dance, Miss Farnsworth."

"That doesn't make a particle of difference, dear; lots of the girls
don't, and perhaps you'd like to keep the dance-order as a souvenir for
your memorabilia, for of course you will have one; all freshmen do. You
will have partners just the same for all the dances and get acquainted
just as quickly as though you were on the floor dancing. You must learn
to dance as soon as possible, though, for it means so many good times
here. Now let us meet the faculty."

Jean felt a little dismayed at the thought of meeting Miss Hooper, but
she soon found herself shaking hands with her and heard her say, "Later
in the evening, Miss Cabot, I hope I may have the pleasure of eating an
ice with you in the faculty alcove. Can you spare me a few moments?"

Jean answered that she would be very pleased to, although she felt she
was in for an explanation of her non-appearance in the mathematics
class, and dreaded it.

Every member of the faculty seemed to be particularly interested in
every freshman who was introduced to her and had something pleasant
to say to them all. They seemed to have entirely forgotten their
mannerisms and the severity of the class rooms. Jean looked long and
earnestly at Miss Emerson and wished she might stand and talk to her
indefinitely, but the long line of waiting freshmen pushed her quickly
along, and she determined to find time later in the evening to ask her
a few questions.

Before long the dancing began and Jean found herself passed on from
one girl to another; some who danced well and some who did not; some
who did nothing but ask questions; some who persisted in telling their
whole family history in five minutes; some tall, some short, some
handsome, some homely, but all college girls filled with the spirit of
good fellowship. Once or twice she rushed over to where Elizabeth was
sitting with whom she had deposited her gloves, fan, handkerchief and
dance-order, and usually found her silently listening to the pearls of
wisdom which fell from the lips of the senior sitting beside her.

About half-past ten Elizabeth said to her, "Jean, I have just been
talking with Miss Hooper and she wishes to know if you will look for
her in the faculty alcove after the next dance."

Jean was tempted to ignore the invitation and all through the next
two-step turned the matter over and over in her mind and was so
absorbed that her partner wondered what the other girls had found so
attractive in this good-looking freshman who apparently could not
talk. However, when the music stopped Jean said very casually, "Will
you please tell me where the faculty alcove is?" and on being shown
she very slowly approached the corner. The dim lights revealed Miss
Hooper among a pile of cushions. She wondered how she could ever talk
to her and what she should say. When Miss Hooper perceived her she
called out, "Oh, Miss Cabot, come right in. I have been waiting for you
and hoping Miss Fairfax would not forget to deliver my message. Make
yourself comfortable here while we enjoy these delicious ices. First, I
want to talk to you about your charming cousin. We were interrupted the
other day before you had told me half I wanted to know."

Just then every light in the Gymnasium went out and left the place in
total darkness and a strong chorus burst into song.

    "Oh, you green freshmen, green freshmen, green freshmen;
    Oh, you green freshmen, come list to our song.
    We're going to haze you, to haze you, to haze you;
    We're going to haze you before very long."

Over and over again they sang the lines, louder and louder each time.
Red-fire burned outside the building and groups of girls with their
hands joined danced wildly around the red lights.

"It's the sophomores," said Miss Hooper; "every year they try to
break up the freshman reception. It has become a tradition, but one
I believe should be abolished," and she slipped out into the main
hall. The seniors found it was impossible to turn on the electricity,
but hurried here and there and borrowed enough lanterns from obliging
janitors to light the Gymnasium dimly. The music continued and the
girls danced as though nothing had happened and thought it all the more
fun to disappoint the sophs, who imagined the dance would be given up
when the lights gave out. Partners had claimed Jean, and the dreaded
interview with Miss Hooper ended almost where it had begun. At length
the dancing stopped and after the good nights had been said Jean and
Elizabeth and the two seniors wended their way homeward.

"What a mean thing it was to break up your reception," said Elizabeth
to Miss Farnsworth.

"Oh, it wasn't wholly unexpected," she replied; "there is always great
rivalry between the two lower classes and one never can tell when it
will break out. You'll find this is only the beginning. Be on the
watch, but take everything that's done in good spirit, for you must
remember you'll be sophs next year and can pay it all back on the next
entering class."

Soon they reached Merton Hall and found other freshmen saying good
night to their escorts. Soon the great outer door was closed and the
weary freshmen started upstairs. When Elizabeth and Jean reached 45
they found the door locked and on it a piece of paper which they tore
down and carried over to the hall light to read. These words met their
astonished gaze:

    "Oh, you green freshmen, green freshmen, green freshmen,
    Oh, you green freshmen, pray don't try your door.
    We'll give you a mattress, a mattress, a mattress,
    We'll give you a mattress, to sleep on the floor."

"Well, I must say I think this is carrying things altogether too far,"
said Jean indignantly. "Who ever heard of sleeping on the hall floor?"

By this time the other freshmen had joined them, reporting similar
experiences at their rooms. One girl came down from the fifth floor,
whispering, "Isn't this the limit! In front of my door is a double
mattress spread on the floor with a blanket or two over it. Come
upstairs, all of you and let's make ourselves as comfortable as we can
and to-morrow we'll begin to plan our revenge on the sophs."

Jean was the most reluctant to go, and as she followed the others down
the hall she cast one look over at 47 and said, "And to think she
pretended to be my friend!" Then an idea seemed to come to her and she
said, "Wait a minute girls; of course some of the seniors are up, so we
can put our good clothes in their rooms and borrow some kimonas. But
even if they want us to sleep in their rooms let's not accept their
invitations. Let's drag that mattress down from fifth and put in front
of some soph's room, say Marjorie Remington's, as close as possible
to the door and give her a big surprise when she tries to walk out
to-morrow morning."

The girls laughed at the thought of the joke and hurried to the rooms
of the seniors to tell them what the sophs had done and to ask them for
help in carrying out Jean's bright suggestions. Before long they had
carried down everything the sophs had left them on fifth floor to 47
and worked so carefully that no one heard them. Then the seven girls
lay down on the mattress very near together to be sure, and were soon
asleep forgetting the cares of their little world.



                               CHAPTER V

                              INITIATION


It did not take very long for Jean and Elizabeth to find out a great
deal about the secret societies at Ashton, much to the satisfaction of
one and the keen disappointment of the other. There were five in all,
the Beta Mu, the Kappa Alpha, the Sigma Delta, the Phi Beta, and the
Gamma Chi. Each had from twenty to twenty-five members, chosen from the
four classes; each had its club room and its society pin, which was
always in evidence on the left side of the girls' waists. The first
days of college the society was in the background as college came first
and then class, but as matters became adjusted and the girls settled
down to the routine of regular life, this factor came into evidence.

It was pretty generally conceded that the two most desirable societies
were the Gamma Chi and the Sigma Delta, and both were eager to obtain
Jean Cabot as one of their members. However, the membership of the two
was entirely different; to the former belonged Peggy Allison, Natalie
Lawton, Dorothy Wright and Frances Farnsworth, girls with a serious
purpose in college but still finding time for plenty of fun; to the
latter belonged Midge Remington, Lill Spalding, Lena Jameson and Gerry
Fairbanks, girls with plenty of money and clothes and a desire for
athletic honors and good times foremost, with scholastic efforts in the
background.

Rushing had begun early, and although at first Jean had not realized
why so many girls had been so kind to her, it flashed over her all of
a sudden that it had all been with the purpose of finally winning her
to their particular society. Nothing definite had been said, and she
had not been invited to join one or the other but she felt that it was
only a matter of time. She had been to walk, to drive, to the theater,
to lunch, rowing on the lake; had played tennis with the best players
college afforded, had been to "hoodangs," first in one girl's room and
then in another's, to tea at the Inn, home for week-ends with the girls
who lived near by--one pleasant thing after another until she began to
tire of so much attention and decided to accept no more invitations
until she had had a breathing spell. One thing had troubled her at
first, but she soon became used to the fact that Elizabeth had not been
invited to many of the good times and often watched her depart with a
look upon her face which seemed to say, "Why does she have everything
and I nothing?"

One Saturday towards the end of October both girls had been invited
down to Peggy Allison's room to a Gamma Chi "hoodang" or rushing-party.
It was one of the few invitations in which Elizabeth was included and
she had counted on it for many days. At noon she said to Jean, "What
time shall we go to Miss Allison's room to-night?"

"Oh, I'm sorry Elizabeth, but you'll have to go with one of the other
girls for I've promised to walk with Marjorie and Lill Spalding to
Tramp's Rock this afternoon and have tea at the Inn on our return.
I'll be back about eight or thereabouts and go directly to Peggy's room
so I'll see you there surely. What are you going to do this afternoon?"

"I don't know now, I had hoped that you and I could do something; we
haven't had a single Saturday afternoon together yet. Isn't the college
library open Saturday afternoons and evenings? Perhaps I'll go over and
read a little while the last part of the afternoon."

Jean and her friends enjoyed every minute of the afternoon and just
before they were ready to start back home Marjorie said to Lill, "I'm
going to take Jean round the other side of the Rock for a few moments;
you can sit and gaze at the clouds until we come back again if you want
to."

After they had walked a few moments Marjorie said, "Jean, I've been
appointed a committee of one to invite you to become a member of
Sigma Delta society. We have some of the best girls in college among
our members as you have had an opportunity to see for yourself. You
know what our girls have done in athletics and in social activities
and we want you to be one of us. Here is a bow of blue ribbon and if
you decide to become a member of Sigma Delt you will wear this ribbon
Monday to chapel and to all your recitations during the day. Then all
the other girls will see what you have chosen and from then on you will
be ours and they will let you alone. I'm pretty sure you've made up
your mind already, but I can't ask you to commit yourself until Monday.
Now we'll go back for Lill and then start for the Inn."

It was considerably after eight when Jean knocked upon Peggy Allison's
door and at the pleasant "Come in" entered the room and found herself
the last arrival, for some twenty upper-class girls with ten or twelve
freshmen were packed closely in the room and the one adjoining which
had been loaned by an accommodating sophomore.

"Why, where's your room-mate, Miss Cabot?" sang out one of the girls.

"Oh, isn't she here? She said she was coming, but I haven't seen her
since dinner for I was away all the afternoon and had supper at the
Inn. Didn't she wait on table? I'll run upstairs and see if she's
forgotten to come. That hardly seems possible, though, for she has been
counting on this so long."

When Jean returned she reported that Elizabeth was nowhere to be seen,
although her hat and coat were on the couch where they had evidently
been thrown in haste and her white party dress still hung in the closet
in its accustomed place. "I'm going downstairs to ask Mrs. Thompson
if she knows whether Elizabeth was at supper, or excused for some
reason." But Mrs. Thompson said that she had been at supper as usual
and she knew nothing further of her whereabouts. Next, Jean hastened
to the register in the reading-room and found no record of Elizabeth's
leaving the dormitory. Perhaps Mary Boynton, the general proctor of
Merton for student government, would have some explanation for her, so
she hurried to 34, but Miss Boynton knew nothing about the girl and in
despair she returned to 27.

"Oh, hasn't she come yet? I've been everywhere I can think of and
nobody knows anything about her. Where can she be?"

"Now, Jean, calm yourself," said Natalie, "perhaps she's visiting some
of the girls in another house and has forgotten all about us. We'll
wait until nine o'clock and then if she hasn't put in an appearance
we'll organize a searching-party. Come, girls, pass those candies to
Jean before they're all eaten up. Can't you see she's waiting for them?"

But Jean didn't seem to enjoy the candies or the other things which
circulated round about her. She seemed, somehow, above the happiness
of the occasion to see the disappointed look on Elizabeth's face when
at noon she had told her she could not go to the party with her, and
above the voices of the others she seemed to hear Elizabeth's trembling
voice saying that she would spend the half-holiday in the library. It
had seemed so ridiculous to Jean then to think of spending unnecessary
time in the library among dry old books. But perhaps Elizabeth had gone
to the library; they could ask the librarian.

It seemed to Jean as though nine o'clock would never strike, every step
in the hall must be Elizabeth's but still she did not come and at last
Jean burst out, "Girls, I'm sorry to break up your little party but I
can't stand it another minute. I've just got to do something. Will two
or three of you come with me while I get Mary Boynton and Mrs. Thompson
and with them we can go to all the dormitories and ask if she is in
any of the girls' rooms? It doesn't seem probable, for she has hardly
any friends outside of Merton, but I think it's the best thing to do.
Each of us can take a dormitory and report at College Hall. I'll go to
Wellington, Peggy can take East, Natalie, West, Miss Boynton, North,
and Emily Sanderson, South. Mrs. Thompson can wait at College Hall so
in case any of you girls here at Merton see Elizabeth or hear anything
about her you can tell her. I'm going down now for Mrs. Thompson; and,
Natalie, will you get Mary Boynton? Don't stop to change your gowns,
for we mustn't lose a minute's time. Put on your sweaters and let's
start at once."

It was after ten o'clock when the little group finally met again at
College Hall and the matter began to look so serious that the girls
hardly knew what to do. Although they had searched the dormitories very
carefully not a trace could they find of the missing girl. Finally Jean
said, "Where does Miss Clarkson, the librarian, live?"

"Somewhere off the hill, Jean," answered Peggy. "We could find out from
some of the faculty."

"No," said Jean, "if she isn't on the hill it won't do any good to try
to find her. I wanted to ask her if she remembered seeing Elizabeth in
the library to-day. I wonder how we could get into the library? What
time does it close on Saturdays?"

Mary Boynton replied that Saturday evening was the only one of the
week when it was open. She thought this was until half-past eight, and
suggested that probably if they could find the janitor he would let
them into the building.

"But why should you think Elizabeth is in the library? Wouldn't she go
out with the others when it closed?" asked Mary.

"Yes, I should think so," said Jean, "but there's nowhere else to look
and if she isn't there I give up the search. I'm going to run over to
Miss Emerson's a moment to ask her how we can get into the library. You
people start in that direction and I'll be with you in a few moments."

Jean fairly tore over the campus and gave Miss Emerson's bell a
vigorous pressing. There were no lights at the front of the house but
after a little while Miss Emerson herself appeared at the door. "Why!
good evening, Miss Cabot, what can I do for you so late at night? Come
right into my study for it's a little chilly here. My maid has retired
but I was looking over an address I am to give next week in Chicago."

"Oh, no, thank you, Miss Emerson, I can't sit down. My room-mate,
Elizabeth Fairfax, is missing and we have looked everywhere for her
but can't find her. I want to look in the library before we give up the
search for the last time I saw her, this noon, she told me that she
might go down to the library to read. How can I get into the library
to-night?"

"Now, my dear child, do calm yourself. It is rather late to disturb the
janitor but I will take my keys and go with you and probably we can
find the night-watchman and he will assist us. Just step into the hall
while I get my coat and hat."

It seemed an interminable time to Jean before Miss Emerson returned,
but at last they started out. Miss Emerson talked constantly on
subjects entirely foreign to the matter of the lost girl, and Jean
wondered how she could possibly think of such trivial things, much
less talk about them. When they reached the little group in front of
the library Miss Emerson was the only calm one among them and she
quietly wished each one a good-evening and then started up the library
steps. With a small electric bulb which she held in her hand she easily
fitted the key into the lock and opened the great outer doors. Then
it was an easy matter to spring open the inner doors and press the
electric button which flooded the foyer with brilliant light. Calling
the girls to her she said, "We will take different sections of the
building to explore, and if one of us discovers Miss Fairfax we will
let the others know." Each girl then took an alcove and began the
search. Jean went straight to the alcoves belonging to the history
department. Here she called softly, "Oh, Elizabeth, are you there?" but
no response came, and she went away down into the last alcove calling
again and again softly, "Oh, Elizabeth, Elizabeth." At last she heard
the sleepy reply, "What is it, Jean? Here I am." And Jean switched on
another light and saw her room-mate lying on the floor with her head on
a great book apparently as comfortable as she would have been in her
own bed in Merton.

Jean went out into the main corridor and shouted, "Oh, girls--Miss
Emerson--come here! I've found her." And then returning to Elizabeth
she said, "Why, what are you doing here? We've been looking for you all
over college, and I've been nearly frightened to death about you."

When Elizabeth saw Miss Emerson and Mrs. Thompson and all the girls,
she looked anxiously from one to the other and said, "Oh, I am very
sorry to have caused so much trouble, I didn't think I was of enough
account ever to be missed by any one, least of all by you, Jean."

"Oh, Elizabeth, how can you say that?" said Jean as she helped her to
arise. "Now sit down here on this chair and tell us how you happened to
be here. You didn't do it on purpose did you, Elizabeth, because I--"

[Illustration: "WHY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? WE'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR
YOU ALL OVER COLLEGE."--_Page 90_.]

But Elizabeth interrupted her with, "Oh, Jean, thank you so much for
wanting to find me! It's worth all the rest. I don't see how it could
have happened--unless when I get to reading history I forget everything
else in the world. About four o'clock I went into the history alcove
and took down a volume on Queen Elizabeth's reign and began to read.
When I was about half way through the third chapter, Betty Winship,
who went down with me, told me it was a quarter of six. I knew I was
due at Merton at six but I had reached the most interesting account of
Elizabeth's education. I slipped a corner of my handkerchief into the
book and put it carefully back on the shelf, deciding to go back after
supper and just finish the chapter before I got ready for Peggy's party.

"I hurried back as soon as I had eaten my supper and began reading
again about Elizabeth. I suppose I must have forgotten everything else
in the world, for the first thing I knew every light in the building
went out. I called as loud as I could but no one answered me, and for a
moment I was frightened. It was so dark I could not find the electric
light switches and the windows were too high even to hope to reach. I
made up my mind there was nothing to do but stay here until morning
when perhaps I could hail a passer-by."

"But Elizabeth, didn't you know it was Saturday night and the library
wouldn't be opened again till Monday morning?" said Jean. "Just think
what might have happened if you couldn't have found some one to open
the door. You'd have almost starved in there alone. I guess very few
of the girls ever go by the library on Sundays. Isn't it lucky we came
here to-night?"

"I didn't think about that. I forgot it was Saturday and thought of
course it would open early the next morning. I was tired and as I could
find nothing else for a pillow I took the book in my lap and laid my
head on that. Of course floors aren't the softest beds in the world,
but I must have fallen asleep, for I don't remember anything else until
I heard Jean calling to me. I'm so sorry to have caused so much worry
and trouble. I didn't dream any one would ever miss me," and the tears
began to trickle down her cheeks.

Miss Emerson put her arm around Elizabeth and led her out into the
foyer, followed by the rest of the little procession. "Miss Cabot," she
said, "will you please put off the lights and after we are all out,
close the door; it locks itself. Thank you very much."

Soon Elizabeth had regained her usual good spirits and walked up
the Row with Mary Boynton and Peggy Allison, followed by the others,
with Jean and Miss Emerson in the rear. "Thank you so much, Miss
Emerson, for coming with me and helping us to-night," said Jean, but
Miss Emerson replied, "I think it is you who ought to be thanked.
Without your good work Miss Fairfax would have remained all night in
the library and doubtless would have caught a severe cold, to say
nothing of a nervous shock. She does not look very strong, but what an
interesting little room-mate she must be!"

Jean was thankful that they reached Miss Emerson's house just then in
time to save her the humiliation of having to reply that as yet she
really hadn't had much time to find out anything interesting about her
room-mate.

It did not take long to reach Merton and disperse for the night. As
they were going upstairs Peggy Allison said, "Oh, Jean, after you have
taken Elizabeth upstairs would you mind coming down in my room for just
a moment?" Jean replied that she would, although she was so tired that
it seemed as though she could not wait another moment to get into bed.
She threw her things on the couch, stumbled over her waste-basket,
groped her way down the stairs and knocked timidly at Peggy's door.

"Come in, Jean," said Peggy. "Sit down just for a moment. It's too bad
our party wasn't the success we hoped it would be but I want to tell
you that I think what you have done was splendid. We never would have
found her if it hadn't been for you. But there's something else I want
to tell you to-night. I had intended to earlier in the evening but
really I couldn't find an opportunity until now. We, that is, the Gamma
Chis, want you to become one of our members. Monday is pledging day and
here is a bow of green ribbon; if you decide to join us you will wear
this little bow pinned on the left side of your shirt-waist and that
will show the other girls that you belong to us. Wear it to chapel in
the morning and to recitations all day. You will not be the only girl
with a bow of colored ribbon on, for every society will have invited
girls to do the same as I have you. You know our girls; you've met them
all, and by this time know whether you like us or not. I've wanted you
for one of our members since the first day I saw you on the train at
New York, but I realize others have desired you, too. We do have good
times together, and you won't make a mistake if you join Gamma Chi.
I'll be watching to see you enter chapel Monday morning and I hope
we win. There, I won't keep you another minute to-night. Good night,
dear. Remember, whichever way you choose, it can't make a particle of
difference in our friendship. We can always be good friends even if
we're not sisters. Can you see your way upstairs? The lights have been
out for hours."

When Jean reached her room she switched on the light and walked over to
her somewhat disordered desk. She swept the books and papers off and
placed the two bows of ribbon, the green and the blue, side by side on
the cleared space and contemplated them for a moment. Her reverie was
interrupted by a knock at the door and she found Marjorie Remington
just outside.

"Let me in for just a moment," whispered Marjorie; "put out your lights
for it's late. Tell me what all this excitement's about. I didn't get
back from Lill's room till almost ten and every one was talking about
Elizabeth's being lost and all you people out hunting for her. Where
did you find her?"

Jean related the incident as briefly as possible, and when she had
finished Marjorie said, "And you did all that for that insignificant
little freshman? I thought you never bothered your head about her
except for German translations? You're easy, that's all I've got to
say. I'm dead for sleep, so good night," and she stole quietly back to
her room. As Jean went over to her desk and put on the lights again
she looked at the two bows on the desk and smiled down at them without
saying a word.

Monday morning Jean arose before Elizabeth and went out to the desk to
do a little studying before breakfast. She had been translating her
French for about a half-hour when two telegrams were brought to her
room. Frightened, she tore open the envelopes and read first,

  "Is it to be cousin or sister?
    "ANNA MAITLANDT."

And then,

  "I bet on the 'Wearing of the Green.'
    "THOMAS CABOT."

She smiled as she read them a second time, and then wondered how Tom
and Anna had ever guessed.

Jean purposely avoided Elizabeth that morning and hurried to chapel
alone. When she took her usual seat she felt as if every eye was upon
her. She tried not to look conscious, but she felt that she failed in
the attempt. It took only a moment to see that she wore the bow of
green, and joy reigned among the Gamma Chis and sorrow among the Sigma
Delts.

It was about two weeks after Pledging Monday that Jean was told to be
ready on Wednesday, November twelfth, for her initiation into Gamma
Chi. At half-past eight she reported at Peggy Allison's room where she
was blindfolded and wrapped in a long black cape. It seemed to her
that she was led miles and miles by a guard on either side who spoke
never a word. Finally they reached what appeared to be a subterranean
passage which led into a cold, damp cave. Jean was commanded to fall
upon her knees and raise her right hand and swear by all the sacred
spirits of the past to be true forever to Gamma Chi. Then there arose
a most dismal wail from the spirits of the past, and Jean in fear and
trembling promised all that was asked of her.

"Will you wear for evermore the insignia of Gamma Chi?" said a
sepulchral voice.

"I will," said poor Jean.

"Then stretch forth thy good right arm that we may bare it to the
elbow. Here let us imprint our emblem," and Jean shuddered as the
red-hot brand traced out the figures on her arm. She wondered why she
did not scream out, and although she had never fainted in her life she
felt at this moment as though she were about to fall to the floor.

Just then the handkerchief was torn from her eyes, a hearty laugh came
from the girls and Jean found herself in the cellar of the dormitory
which the girls had borrowed for the occasion. She looked down at her
bared arm and then at Peggy, who stood before her with a pointed piece
of ice still in her hands.

"You're a brick, Jean. It's no fun trying to haze you; why didn't you
scream or do something exciting? Well, you have been so good about this
part that we'll take you up to society rooms without any more delay."

When they reached the rooms which were on the upper floor of a private
residence a little distance from the college buildings they found all
the girls chatting merrily and laughing over the evening's adventures.
Soon, however, they proceeded to serious matters, and the five freshmen
and one sophomore were initiated into the noble society of Gamma
Chi. As it was then, and still is, a secret society, it would not be
fitting to divulge the mysteries which were revealed to the wondering
six. Suffice it to say that in due time the serious business ended,
the eating began, and such quantities of food as those thirty girls
consumed! At length, however, they were satisfied and arose and forming
a circle they joined hands and sang:

    "Oh, here's to Gamma Chi, Gamma Chi;
    Oh, here's to Gamma Chi, Gamma Chi;
    Oh, here's to Gamma Chi. We'll be loyal till we die;
    Drink it down, drink it down to Gamma Chi, Chi, Chi!"

And then the president, Florence Farnsworth, took the bunch of American
Beauty roses which stood in the center of the table and gave one rose
to each of the new members and pinned a glittering gold star upon the
left side of their waists, saying as she did so, "Just above your
hearts, girls; always loyal to Gamma Chi. Now, three cheers for our six
new members." After these were given, it was all over and the girls
departed to their different dormitories.

As Jean had expected, she found Elizabeth had gone to bed and to sleep,
but not before first putting Jean's kimona and slippers on the couch
so that she might make herself comfortable as soon as she arrived. Jean
put her beautiful rose in a long, thin vase she had recently purchased
in town and then placed it on Elizabeth's desk. She wished that there
might have been one more freshman initiated that evening. She saw
how impossible it was just then, but it was something to work for by
herself. She was just beginning to see something of the real Elizabeth
of whom the other girls had not the slightest suspicion.

Just before she retired Jean went to her desk and filled out a telegram
blank which she found there:

  "To MISS ANNA MAITLANDT, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston,
  Massachusetts:
  "From now on it is to be sister and cousin.
    "JEAN."



                              CHAPTER VI

                         THE HARVARD-YALE GAME


"Oh, Elizabeth, it's come, it's come!" and Jean danced into the room
and frantically waved several sheets of paper in her hands.

"What's come?" said Elizabeth, as she looked up from her history.

"My letter from Tom, and the invitation to the Harvard-Yale game. You
see, I've been wondering all the fall if I was to go, or whether Tom
would find other fellows' sisters more attractive and forget all about
me. Don't you know that little verse:

    "All good boys love their sisters;
      So good I have grown,
    That I love other boys' sisters
      'Most as well as my own."

As it is, though, I am going with Tom's room-mate and Tom is going
to take Connie Huntington. You haven't met her, have you? She's a
California girl, in at the Conservatory, and an awfully good friend of
Tom's.

"I mean to have her out here as soon as there's something worth while
to take her to. The game comes the Saturday before Thanksgiving,
November 23d, and it's only five days off. Tom says I'm to meet the
other three in town Saturday morning and we'll have lunch early and
then start for the game; afterwards we'll have dinner at the Touraine,
and go to the theater. Won't that be glorious? Oh, I'm so anxious to
see Tom! I wonder if he'll think I've changed any since September. Then
he encloses a letter from Aunt Sarah, telling him her plans to give us
a good time on our visit with her over the Thanksgiving holidays. You
know, she lives in New York City winters and has more money than she
knows what to do with."

"But, Jean," said her room-mate, "you four aren't going to dinner and
to the theater alone on Saturday, are you? And how are you going to get
back to the hall after the theater?"

"Oh, I shall have to get permission from Mary Boynton to be away for
the day, and I shall come back after the theater in Mrs. Nutter's
machine. Mrs. Nutter is an aunt of Constance Huntington's, who lives
in Boston, and has promised to chaperon the party. I'm going in to see
Midge Remington a few minutes, for she's been telling everybody for
weeks that she was going to the game with Jack Goodrich, who's a senior
at Harvard. She'll know all about everything and tell me just what to
do."

But Marjorie was not at home, or at least did not answer to the knock
on her door. She had never forgiven Jean for joining Gamma Chi, and had
been rather cool to her ever since although she did not openly show her
hostility. Jean hurried on to Mary Boynton's room to gain the desired
permission to attend the game at Cambridge. When she entered Miss
Boynton's room, that young lady and her room-mate, Ethel Lillibridge,
were having afternoon tea with Miss Hooper. Mary insisted upon Jean's
joining them and drawing another chair up to the cozy tea-table poured
out a cup of tea and passed her the heaped-up plate of sandwiches.

"How pleasant," said Miss Hooper. "I was intending to call on you, Miss
Cabot, after I left here. I seldom get over to Merton, and when I do
I enjoy the girls here so much that I usually spend the afternoon in
one room instead of making several calls so perhaps I shouldn't have
seen you after all. How are you enjoying the year? I believe I haven't
seen you except at a distance since the freshman reception when the
sophomores left us in the dark so unceremoniously. Of course, like the
rest of us, you are very busy all the time."

"Oh, I hope I'm not intruding upon your tea-party," said Jean. "I came
to see Miss Boynton on business, but I can postpone it until another
day."

"Now, Jean, wait until we have finished our tea and then if Miss Hooper
will excuse us for a moment we can transact our little business in the
other room and come back for some more tea."

About five o'clock, after Jean and Mary had discussed the game and
permission had been given her to attend, Jean arose to leave the room.
Miss Hooper excused herself, and the two started down the corridor
together.

"I think this is a splendid afternoon to walk, Miss Cabot, I wonder if
you would care to stroll down to the Willows with me before supper,"
said Miss Hooper. "I haven't been down there since college opened, and
it has always been one of my favorite walks."

Jean had planned to spend the hour before supper on her French, but
she felt that she could not refuse Miss Hooper's invitation. The day
had been clear and crisp and the setting sun dropped its mantle of
brilliant color upon all the world. Twilight was creeping on apace
as they entered the Willows, so called because of the great weeping
willows which grew thickly on both sides of the road for a half mile or
so below the post-office.

"When the snow is on the ground and it's moonlight, I want you to
come down here with me some evening," said Miss Hooper, "and see the
beauty of the willows in winter. I haven't a particle of poetry in
my soul, but if I did have I am sure I should find inspiration here.
What a wonderful thing it is to have talent and give so much that is
beautiful to the world! I cannot play or sing, but music has always
been a passion with me. Mary Boynton told me how well you play and how
much you enjoy music. I am glad that we have that taste in common.
I have two tickets for the Symphony concerts in Boston this winter
and I should like to take you with me the Saturday evening after our
Thanksgiving holidays if you would like to go."

"Indeed I should like to go, Miss Hooper, and I thank you very much for
the invitation. Music is my favorite study and I intend to devote all
my time to it next year."

"What! do you mean that you are going to be a special?"

"No, Miss Hooper, I do not intend to return to Ashton another year. I
shall study music in Los Angeles, and in a year or two perhaps study in
Germany."

"Oh, you're not coming back to college? Are you serious about it? I
hope you have not fully made up your mind to it, for we want you here."

"Yes, Miss Hooper, from the very first I have only intended staying
this one year."

"Perhaps we can make you change your mind before June. I think we had
better turn back now for it must be almost six o'clock. I could walk on
for miles and miles here and forget time completely. Do you know where
I live, Miss Cabot? It's Wellington, first floor. I have been matron
there for ten years, and every year I am determined to give it up and
live out of a dormitory, but still I stay on. There's something very
fascinating to me in living with the girls and coming to know them so
intimately. Do you spend the Thanksgiving recess away?"

"Yes, my brother, who is in Yale, and I are going to an aunt's in New
York. I'm to go over Wednesday noon and stay until Sunday night. It
seems as though I couldn't wait for the time to come. Do you go away?"

"No, I haven't many relatives in this part of the country, so I shall
be here. Miss Emerson always invites the faculty and girls, who have no
other place, to her house to eat turkey with her."

The conversation changed from one subject to another and when they
parted at Merton, Jean wondered why no reference had ever been made to
her dropping mathematics without an explanation to Miss Hooper. She was
beginning to think she had been a little hasty in her judgment of her
and she almost wished she had not given up the subject so quickly.

The days went by on leaden feet until Saturday the twenty-third. Jean
awoke that morning early for excitement would not let her sleep. She
looked over at Elizabeth's bed and found she was awake, too, so she
quickly jumped from bed and ran to the window and raised the shade.
"Oh, goody," she cried, "it's going to be a fine day! I was afraid last
night it would rain, for the moon had a ring around it, and that's
a sure sign of storm. I'm going to get ready for the game before
breakfast so I can go to Chapel and first recitation. I don't need to
start in until 10.23 for I'm not to meet the others until eleven at
the Touraine. Wasn't it lucky I chose a blue hat and suit this fall?
It isn't a real Yale blue, but it is near enough to show where my
sympathies are. Do you think I'd better take my fur coat? I suppose one
can't tell about the weather these days, and it's better to be on the
safe side."

Jean talked continually as she dressed and answered her own questions,
for Elizabeth seemed unusually silent. When she finished dressing she
looked to Elizabeth for approval. "What, aren't you up yet? What's the
matter this morning?"

"I don't know, Jean. When I went to bed last night I had a slight
headache and this morning it's so bad I can't lift my head from the
pillow. I don't understand it, for I never have headaches."

"Too much studying, dear. You know you were reading very late last
night. Well, you stay right in bed all the morning. I'll bring up your
breakfast to you and sign off for you at the office. Where do you keep
your apron? I'm going to do your work this morning in the dining-room."

"Why, Jean Cabot, of course you're not! The idea of your thinking of
such a thing. I'll be better if I get up, and I'm sure I shall be all
right when I get at work."

"No, you stay right where you are and let me do as I said. There, it's
seven now; good-by for a little while; please go to sleep again," and
Jean shut the door before Elizabeth could protest further.

Every girl in the dining-room was so astonished that she could hardly
eat when she saw Jean Cabot with a dainty white apron over her new blue
suit, waiting on the middle table at breakfast. She hurried here and
there and supplied their wants as though she had done it every morning
of the year instead of for the first time in her life. Questions were
on everybody's lips, but her only answer was, "Oh, Elizabeth overslept
and I'm helping out."

Just as she had finished her own breakfast she was called out into the
hall to sign for an express package which had just arrived for her.
When she opened it she found an enormous bunch of violets with a card
bearing the name, Frederick Manning Thornton. She buried her face in
the heart of the bouquet and breathed deeply of the fragrance, then she
held them up against her dress, exclaiming, "A perfect match, nothing
could be better," and she hastened upstairs to put them in water until
it was time to start.

After she had placed them in a vase she thought she would show them to
Elizabeth. She knocked lightly on the door to see if she were asleep,
and a cheery little "Come in" made her open the door. "See what I've
brought to you," said Jean before she knew what she was saying. "Let
me draw the table up to the bed and put the violets where you can see
them. Now I'm going down for your breakfast."

"Why, Jean, where did these violets come from?"

"Oh, from an unknown admirer of yours who does not wish his name
revealed. Now, what would you like for your breakfast?"

"Jean, I know these flowers were intended for you to wear to the game
and I shall not let you leave them here. What has possessed you this
morning? You're not at all like yourself."

"It's just that I'm nearly beside myself because I'm going to see Tom,
blessed Tom! I guess if you were miles and miles away from your family
you'd be beside yourself at the prospect of seeing your only brother in
the East. I'm going to bring him out here to-morrow, so you must get
better before then."

"Truly, I'm better now, Jean, and I'm sure when you return to-night
you'll find me all well again. But I shall insist upon your wearing
your violets."

"No, Elizabeth, they're for you, to remind you of me when I'm gone."

"I don't need these to remind me of you, Jean; there are so many other
reminders everywhere."

Mrs. Thompson insisted upon taking up Elizabeth's breakfast to her and
Jean hurried to Chapel, for it was late. Just outside Merton she met
Marjorie Remington and Lill Spalding on their way in town. "Why don't
you come in with us, Jean; we're going to cut all day. Come along and
be a sport."

"No, I'm not going to cut any more than's absolutely necessary. I don't
need to go in until the 10.23," said Jean.

"Oh, very well. Seems to me you're getting awfully conscientious all of
a sudden," and as she hurried away Marjorie proceeded to tell Lill of
the incident of the breakfast table.

Jean slipped into Chapel a little late and then went into the
philosophy class. At length it was ended and she was on her way to
Merton. She had time for a look into Elizabeth's room and found her
more comfortable, although still in bed. When she reached the station
it was thronged with girls going to the game, and until the train
arrived they all talked excitedly about their seats and escorts. Most
of the girls were to be the guests of Harvard men and of course would
sit on the Harvard side, but a few, like herself, had brothers or
cousins at Yale. She discovered another freshman, Jessica Goddard,
attired in blue, and she ran up and greeted her with, "Good, Jess,
you're Yale, I know! Come and sit with me and tell me all about the
Yale players. I know almost nothing about them and Brother will be sure
to expect me to be well informed."

The twelve minutes passed rapidly and before Jean had heard half enough
they were out of the train and a part of the vast throng at the North
Station. They had taken only a few steps before Jean heard her name
called several times and turning she saw Tom and his room-mate and
Constance Huntington running up the platform back of her.

"How did you get by us, Jean?" said Tom. "We stood right by the gate
and didn't see anything of you until Connie spied you walking up the
platform. We were looking for a girl with a bunch of violets and you
haven't any."

"Well, I'll tell you about those later on," said Jean, "but now please
introduce me to your room-mate so I can thank him for sending them to
me."

Introductions followed and Jean apologized for not wearing the violets.
"My room-mate was ill and I left them with her," she said.

"In that case," replied young Mr. Thornton, "you certainly deserve
another bunch as soon as we can locate a florist's shop."

"Why, Tom, how did you happen to be here at the station? You told me in
your telegram to be at the Touraine."

"Mrs. Nutter kindly offered us her automobile for the morning, so we
decided to come down here and surprise you. She is in the machine just
outside the station, so perhaps we'd better hustle out there. We are
going to ride around the city till lunch-time. The game's at two, so we
won't have any time for sight-seeing after lunch."

After they had taken their places in the machine they were whirled
away into the crowded thoroughfare. Lunch was hastily eaten and at one
o'clock they were on their way to Cambridge. Thousands of automobiles
raced along Massachusetts Avenue; cabs and hansoms, electric cars,
everything was taxed to its utmost as it sped on to the game. Mrs.
Nutter tried to point out places of interest, but no one seemed to care
much for anything but the game.

When they reached the Stadium they found both sides of the street lined
with automobiles, so Mrs. Nutter had her chauffeur leave them at the
main entrance and then take the car up the long line till space could
be found to park it.

It took a long time for the little party to reach their seats, for
the surging crowd ahead of them demanded attention, but each and all
jostled along without a shade of impatience. Jean thought she had seen
numberless girls at college, but now it seemed as if all the girls
together would not have filled a single section. Where could they all
have come from? At last they were seated in a section which the boys
declared couldn't be better and they had a good half-hour to view the
crowds and the players before the game began. Tom and his room-mate
recognized fellows all around them, for almost every one in Yale had
come to the game and they took great pleasure in pointing out the
celebrities.

"See, there's Tad Bronson, two rows below us, captain of next year's
baseball team. Isn't that girl with him a peach? They say they're
engaged. She came all the way from Chicago for the game."

"There's Prexy down in the front row, and that man just rising is Prof.
Hamilton. He flunks more men in college than all of the rest of the
profs together."

"See, here comes our fellows, Tubbie Spencer in the lead. Wait till you
see how he can play. What's the matter? Why don't we give them a cheer?
Well, here's Billy Knowlton, cheer leader for this section; he'll start
'em up," and in a moment the most deafening noise that Jean had ever
heard rose from the Yale side. Cheer followed cheer, and songs were
occasionally intermingled. Jean found herself joining in as excitedly
as the boys and in a little while knew all the Yale players and most of
the Harvard ones.

Promptly at two o'clock the referee blew his whistle and the two
elevens lined up for the first kick-off. From then until ten minutes
after four there was not a dull moment. The ball was back and forth
over the field, first on Harvard's ground and then on Yale's. The
playing was more even than it had been for years and at the end of the
second half the score was 6-5 in favor of Harvard.

Jean was so disappointed she could hardly keep back the tears that
had started to her eyes, and she cried out, "I think it's a downright
shame! To think you should be beaten at my first Harvard-Yale, Mr.
Thornton! I just hate Harvard."

"Yes, it is hard luck, and my greatest regret is that I can't look
forward to next year to see Yale trim them. That's the worst of being
a senior; everything you do this year is for the last time. I envy
you being a freshman with four good years ahead of you. They're the
best years of your life, take my word for it. I'd give a good deal
if I were beginning it all over again. Of course I shall always try
to go to the big games, but it will never be the same as when you're
an undergraduate. See the fellows down there forming the procession.
They'll march up and down the Stadium several times and throw their
hats up over the goals. No one ever expects to get his own hat back,
but it's all part of the game. They'd better celebrate to-day, for
they may not have another chance again."

The little party stood and watched the long procession of
undergraduates take possession of the great Stadium as they marched up
and down, across and around the field. When they reached either goal
every hat was off and tossed up over the cross-bar and caught again by
the nearest man as it came down. After fifteen or twenty minutes of
this the procession passed out of the gate, the leaders carrying the
victorious eleven upon their backs, and soon they were lost from sight,
although their shouting and singing could be heard long after.

It was almost dark when Mrs. Nutter and her guests took their places
in the automobile. They had been obliged to wait a long time for the
machine, as there were so many others ahead of them. However, they made
up for lost time by tearing with the highest speed toward Boston. As
they were crossing Harvard Bridge Jean begged them to stop a moment,
for the three bridges spanning the Charles seemed to be but parallel
lines of bright lights which in the darkness presented a most novel
appearance. She saw the lighted dome of the State House for the first
time and exclaimed upon its height and brilliancy. "I wish I had to
cross Harvard Bridge every night, it is so beautiful here," she said as
they started off again.

A table had been reserved for them at the Touraine and they found
themselves among a merry throng of young people, most of them the
supporters of the crimson and jubilant over their victory. Here and
there were Yale men and their guests and the men and girls circulated
from one table to another renewing acquaintances.

It was a little late when they arrived at the theater and the play
had already begun. The house had been bought up by the Yale men and
decorations of blue were everywhere. The singers had touches of blue
in their costumes and sang the good old Yale songs, and at the end
of the second act threw hundreds of rolls of blue confetti out over
the audience. No one pretended to know anything about the comic opera
itself, for there was so much Yale music introduced, so many jokes
about the football players and the game, so much applause and singing
on the part of those in the audience that the real plot, if there could
be said to be one, was almost lost sight of.

As the boys wished to take the midnight express out of Boston, Tom
suggested that they leave before the last act was quite over. The party
were to see Jean safely landed at Ashton and then motor back to Boston.
Jean was disappointed that Tom could not stay over Sunday, for she had
promised herself the pleasure of taking him to Vespers and introducing
him to her friends. He promised her that pleasure later in the year
and reminded her that they were to have five days together the next
week. The two talked over trains and plans for meeting in New York
and the others became very quiet, for the day had been a long one in
spite of its many pleasures, and they were content to make themselves
as comfortable as possible in the machine and let the others do the
talking.

It was after eleven when they drew up in front of Merton, and Jean
and Tom alighted. Good-nights were said and promises made for future
reunions, and as Jean stepped into the hall Tom sang out, "Good-by till
Wednesday. I'll meet you in the Grand Central at four. If I'm not at
the train you sit down by the Inquiry Office and wait till I come. The
trains are apt to be crowded at holiday time and one can't tell when
they will arrive. So long; hope you'll find your room-mate better. Give
her my bestest," and he hastened back to the others and they were off
and away before Jean had reached 45.

Although she entered the room very quietly Elizabeth heard her and
called her into the bedroom, which she entered, asking, "How do you
feel, Elizabeth?"

"Oh, ever so much better, Jean. I shall be all right in the morning. My
headache has gone entirely. I got up this afternoon, but didn't go out
of the room. So many of the girls were away that I wasn't really needed
in the dining-room. Was everything as nice as you expected?"

"Yes, Elizabeth, I think it has been the happiest day this year so far.
There's so much to tell you it can be our main topic of conversation
for the rest of the term. However, I'm not going to begin until
to-morrow, for I'm so tired I can't see straight. I'll just put out the
lights in the other room and then I'm ready for bed."

"Oh, Jean, I forgot to tell you that there are two notes for you on
your desk. Some one brought them this afternoon and I left them where
you could find them as soon as you came in."

"Thank you," said Jean, and she dragged her weary feet out into the
other room. She went straight to her desk and turned on the little desk
light, which revealed two envelopes bearing the college seal. "They
look suspicious," she said to herself. "Faculty notes; I recognize the
writing on one of them. Well, I won't open them to-night. I've had a
perfect day and these would spoil it all. I'll wait till morning before
I read them," and she left them exactly where Elizabeth had placed
them, and putting out the lights was soon in bed.

She awoke very early next morning, almost before it was light, for in
spite of her weariness she could not seem to sleep. Something had
disturbed her usual placid slumber, but she could not just remember
what it was. Then it came over her that something unpleasant waited
for her on her desk. She crept softly into the other room and sat down
at the desk and slowly opened the notes. The first one was from Mlle.
Franchant; a warning in French with the suggestion that the subject be
dropped at Christmas if there was not a decided improvement. The second
was from the Office informing her that she had overcut in Chapel and
also in gymnasium classes and asking her to report at the Dean's Office
Monday at half-past eleven o'clock. How long she stared at the messages
before her she did not know, but when she could no longer see them for
the blinding tears she dropped her head on her arms upon the desk and
sobbed, "I do care, I do care!" And when some time after Elizabeth came
out into the room she found her still there. She did not try to comfort
her, but left her to fight it out with herself.



                              CHAPTER VII

                       THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAYS


Jean was on her knees bending over her steamer trunk. On either side
of her were huge piles of clothes and she was having great difficulty
in choosing what to take with her. It was Tuesday just after supper,
and Jean had decided to devote the evening to her packing, for she
was to start at noon the next day. Marjorie Remington had offered to
help her pack and although Jean felt that she had done it more to see
her clothes and hear what she was going to do in New York than to
render her any real assistance she had not declined her offer. She did
not wish to incur Marjorie's ill-will any more than was necessary,
for already several little things had been said and done which hurt
Jean more than she was willing to admit. And not only against Jean
had Marjorie made her unkind remarks but against Elizabeth as well,
and Jean felt that Marjorie availed herself of every opportunity to
prejudice her against her room-mate.

Marjorie had been exceedingly careless of her own behavior of late, and
after the Harvard-Yale game had stayed in town all night at her aunt's
without first gaining permission to do so. She was severely reprimanded
for this and warned that a second offense would not be tolerated. And,
although no one knew it, she had received two faculty warnings, but had
made up her mind to ignore them.

A little after eight o'clock she hurried into Jean's room exclaiming,
"Sorry, Jean, but I can't help you pack after all, Jack's just come
out to call. I hadn't the least idea he would come to-night, but he's
such an uncertain quantity I never can tell what he's going to do
next. However, he's so good-looking and such a dear I can forgive him
for 'most everything. Hope you'll have a gay time in the big city.
Wish I were going over, too, but I've decided to go to my aunt's. You
see, Jack isn't going home, either, for he only has the day and he's
promised to give me one good time if I'll stay in Boston. Here comes
that pious room-mate of yours. Positively, she gets on my nerves more
every day. I don't believe she's half as innocent as she pretends to
be, either, and I wouldn't trust all my perfectly good things to her
the way you do. Good-by," and as she left the room Elizabeth entered.

"Oh, Jean, please let me help you with your packing. When do you ever
expect to wear all these clothes? There's enough for a month instead of
a few days. I've never seen half of these before."

"No, some of them haven't been out of my trunk before. I've been saving
them for this visit, as I expect to be on the go every minute I'm
away and I'll need plenty of good-looking things. Would you take this
chiffon, or does it look too soiled?"

Before Elizabeth could answer there came a knock at the door and a
telegram was handed to Jean. When she opened it she could hardly
believe her eyes. It was from Tom and said:

  "Visit postponed. Aunt Sarah very sick. Stay at college.
    "TOM."

She did not say a word, but passed the telegram over to Elizabeth to
read and then sank helplessly down on the floor beside her trunk. When
astonishment had given place to anger, she burst out, "Did you ever
hear of anything like that? Why did Aunt Sarah take Thanksgiving of
all times in the year to be sick? To think I've been waiting all this
time to go on and visit her and see Tom and have the time of my life
and then have to give it all up and stay here with the rest of lonely
freshmen! Pleasant prospect, isn't it?"

"Oh, Jean, I'm very sorry it's happened. Of course it's a
disappointment. But there will be a lot of the other girls here, and
you're all invited down to Miss Emerson's for dinner. It won't be like
New York with your own people, but I'm sure she will do everything she
can to make the day a pleasant one for you. I almost hate to ask you,
but would you rather go home with me to Newburgh than stay here at
college? I haven't very much to offer you in the way of good times,
but I should love to have you see my home and know my people if you
won't mind putting up with all our inconveniences. I can show you
real old New England country life in the winter, for they have snow
there already, and it's been good skating, too. There are hardly any
young people, and what there are will not be at all like those you
have always known. You won't need any of those fine clothes you had
planned to take to New York, but you can put a few waists and a thick
dress and sweater into your suit-case and come along without any more
preparations. It's very cold up there, so you want to take plenty of
warm clothes. I have planned to start from the North Station at four
o'clock, but we won't reach home until late in the evening, as we have
to drive a good seven miles. There is no station at Newburgh, but we
leave the train at Wilton Junction and probably Brother will meet us
there to drive us home in the sleigh. Don't decide to-night, Jean;
think it over and tell me in the morning. I think I'll go to bed early
to-night. How good it seems not to have any lessons to prepare! Before
I go, can I help you put away your clothes?"

"Yes, if you will, Elizabeth, and I sha'n't wait until to-morrow to
accept your invitation. I am terribly disappointed not to go to my
aunt's, but I think it will be splendid to go home with you. I've
never been sleighing or skating in my life, and all I know about it is
what I've read in books. Thank you so much for wanting me to go with
you. Will you put this box in on my dresser if you're going into the
bedroom?"

The two girls worked rapidly together, and soon had cleared away the
piles of clothes Jean had deposited upon the floor. They felt so in the
mood for cleaning that they dusted and put to rights both rooms so that
they might look presentable during their absence. As Jean was dusting
her dresser she opened the box which she had asked Elizabeth to place
there and after examining its contents carefully she said, "Elizabeth,
have you seen anything of my coral beads? They aren't here with my
other things, and I'm sure I had them in the box. I wore them this
afternoon to Bertha Merrill's tea and I thought I put them in here when
I changed my dress. Perhaps they're mixed up with some of the things we
put in the trunk. I think I'll look around a little to-night, for they
must be somewhere in the room."

Both girls searched everywhere they knew of, but they could find no
trace of the beads. "It's the strangest thing I ever heard of," said
Jean. "We can't do much until after vacation, for every one will go
away to-morrow. I'll put a notice on our bulletin board and report the
loss to--who's the proctor on our floor this week?"

"Grace Hooper," said Elizabeth.

"Well, I'll run down to her room a minute and tell her about it and
then I'll be ready to turn in."

When she returned she told Elizabeth that Grace Hooper and Mary Boynton
thought it best to say or do nothing about the loss of the beads until
college began again Monday morning. Perhaps by that time the beads
would have been found and they would be saved the unpleasant duty of
investigation.

When the two girls stepped into the train at the North Station the next
day they found it crowded to the utmost with happy travelers returning
home for the holidays. There did not seem to be any seats together,
so they stood their suit-cases at one end of the car and perched upon
them to wait until some of the passengers should alight at the first
station. Several of the college girls they knew were homeward bound on
the same train and joined them, using their bulging cases as seats. It
began to snow lightly soon after the train started, and as they went
farther north they found evidences of recent snow storms, and when they
reached Wilton Junction they found it piled up in great drifts round
the station.

As they alighted from the train they looked in vain for "Brother Dick"
or Dr. Fairfax. "Don't be alarmed, Jean, I never know when any one
will meet me. You see, doctors are likely to be called out any time
miles and miles, and when you've got only one horse on the place you
get used to waiting. Let's go into the station and keep warm, and for
excitement we can get weighed or read the time-tables on the wall."

Huddled round a great old-fashioned stove in the center of the room
were a dozen or so people waiting for belated trains. They forgot
the cold or disappointment at missing their train when they saw the
two girls. It was not often they had such a good-looking stranger as
Jean Cabot to gaze upon. She did make a picture there in her dingy
surroundings with her long fur coat and little fur turban with two
iridescent quills stuck jauntily through the front. The blackness of
the fur as it rested against her hair intensified its golden hue and
the fair whiteness of her skin.

From one corner where he apparently had been dozing arose a
long-legged, lackadaisical-looking fellow, who strolled up to where the
two girls were standing.

"Why, how d'ye do, Miss Fairfax. Home for the holidays?" was his
greeting, and all the time he was stealing glances at Jean. Elizabeth
coolly replied to his question and introduced him to Jean. He hardly
had time for more than a few casual remarks before Elizabeth heard some
sleigh-bells and going to the door saw her father outside in his little
low sleigh. "May I call on you before you return to college?" asked the
young man as he carried their heavy suit-cases to the waiting sleigh.

"Why, yes, if you care to," replied Elizabeth as she and Jean stepped
up to the sleigh.

"Father, I've brought my room-mate, Jean Cabot, home with me for the
holidays. She expected to go to New York to visit her aunt, but at the
last moment she had to give it up, as her aunt was sick. I know you are
always glad to welcome one more, so I invited her up here."

"Very glad to know you, Jean. Hope you'll excuse my not getting out to
help you," said Dr. Fairfax, "but I'm so bundled up I don't believe I
could ever get back again if I once got out. It's been a terribly cold
day up our way, and I drove ten miles the other side of our hill before
I came down for you. I've been over to Judge Morton's, Elizabeth, to
see his mother. She's a pretty sick woman, and I almost doubt if I can
pull her through this time."

"Oh, that accounts for Franklin Morton's being at Wilton Junction. What
a contemptible snob that fellow is! I've seen him hundreds of times
driving through the village, and have known him ever since he first
spent his summers at Gorham, but he's never spoken five words to me
until to-night when he saw the prospect of meeting Jean. Did you hear
him ask if he might call on us? I imagine him in our little farmhouse!
Well, I guess we needn't borrow trouble, for he would never come,
especially as his grandmother is very sick.

"Now, Father, what about Dick? I hoped he would come down with you to
the station."

"Lucky he didn't now, isn't it, Jean, for how could we four have ridden
home in this little sleigh? Pretty tight squeeze as it is. To tell
you the truth, dear, I'm a little worried about Richard's case, for
he doesn't seem to get his strength back as I wish he would. Typhoid
does pull any one down so, it's a hard fight to get back again. He's
been a wonderfully patient boy through it all, but I think sometimes
he gets discouraged about himself, although he never says anything to
us. I don't know what he would do without your letters, girl. I verily
believe he knows them all by heart, and he talks about your friends
there as though they were his own. He'll feel right at home with this
young lady here, for next to you, Elizabeth, Jean has been of most
interest to him, and he's wondered so many times if he could ever see
her.

"Here, Jean, is where we begin to climb our hill at the top of which
is our little village. I think now that it has stopped snowing the
moon will soon appear, and if it does you will see one of the finest
winter pictures I know of. I ride for miles and miles around this whole
country, but I know of no more beautiful views than this hill affords
us in winter as well as in summer.

"See, there's the moon peeping behind that cloud now."

Slowly the old horse pulled his heavy load up the long hill, and
before the ascent was half made the full moon was shining brightly,
shedding its beauty over the snow-covered country. Gaunt trees threw
long black shadows across the tiny thread of a road, while here and
there were deserted buildings almost hidden from view by the great
drifts of snow. There was hardly a sound but the tinkle of their own
sleigh-bells and the crunching of the runners on the snow. Peace and
quiet and beauty were everywhere, as far as the eye could reach.

Jean could hardly believe her eyes. Here was something she had read
about but never seen, and the wonder of it threw its spell over her.
Indeed, all three became gradually silent, apparently engrossed with
their own thoughts, the doctor wondering how his aged patient was
rallying under the treatment he had suggested, Elizabeth, deeply
troubled by her father's words about her brother, and Jean lost in
contemplation of the strange and wonderful scene before her.

Jean was the first to break the silence. "Oh, Elizabeth, how I wish
Miss Hooper were riding with us to-night! About two weeks ago when
I was walking with her through the Willows she said she wanted me to
go there with her again when there was snow on the ground and a moon,
for it is so beautiful. But I am sure nothing could be as wonderful as
this hill to-night. I wish I could give her a good description of its
beauty."

"Why don't you write to her while you are here and tell her about it? I
know she would appreciate it, for she told me she was to stay at Ashton
over the holidays."

"I think I will write to her to-night and tell her all about this
wonderful ride. It seems now as if I could ride on forever, but I see
lights over there, so we must be approaching the village. Why, it seems
as though we were on top of the world up here!"

"We'll be home in half an hour, Jean; our house is right over there,"
and Elizabeth pointed to a little group of lighted houses at her right.

It did not take long to reach the rambling old farmhouse where
Fairfaxes had lived for the last hundred and fifty years. The front
door was opened as the sleigh turned into the yard and a fresh young
voice rang out:

"Welcome home, Sister! Hurry up and come in, for I am tired of waiting
for you. I thought you'd never get here."

The doctor warned the owner of the voice not to stand longer in the
cold, and so he disappeared from view. It did not take the girls long
to get into the house and reach the blazing fire in the huge fireplace.
Mrs. Fairfax greeted them cordially and then brother and sister were
in each others' arms. Then in a moment Elizabeth introduced Jean, and
after one look at her Richard burst out, "You're just as I thought
you'd be. Wishes do come true. All the afternoon I've been wishing
you'd come up here on our hilltop with Sister to visit us instead of
going to New York to visit your aunt. Now take off your things and
let's have supper."

When the doctor came into the living-room it was the signal to repair
to the dining-room, where a steaming supper awaited them. Jean thought
she had never tasted anything as good in all her life, and as the cold
ride had whetted her ordinarily good appetite she did justice to
everything Mrs. Fairfax had prepared. As often as she dared she stole
glances at Richard Fairfax and she thought she had never before seen
such an attractive although pathetic face. It was deathly white, with
almost perfect features, but one could never forget the eyes. They were
deep-set and dark and brilliant, but when he spoke or was interested
when some one else was speaking they fairly seemed to flash fire.

The conversation at table was general, and when they arose Dick
suggested that they sit round the fireplace in the living-room and
he would draw the couch up and lie upon it, for he was much more
comfortable there than in the hard, stiff-backed chairs. Mrs. Fairfax
and Elizabeth went into the kitchen to wash the dishes and make the
last preparations for the morrow's dinner, while Jean and Richard and
Dr. Fairfax made themselves comfortable before the blazing wood fire.

"Let's not have a light at first, Father," said Richard; "I love the
firelight best and I think Jean will, too, after she sees how nice
it is. Now, Father, will you please recite us your poem about the
firelight?"

In his pleasing, deep-toned voice Dr. Fairfax gave the simple
two-versed poem he had written on the firelight, and when he finished
Dick pleaded, "Oh, don't stop, Father, please give us all my favorites,
it's just the night for poetry." And one poem followed another until
the doctor insisted that it was some one else's turn.

"Now, Jean," said Richard, "won't you give us something you have
learned at college?"

"Oh, I can't. I don't know any poems. I've never learned them."

"What, never learned poetry? Don't you love it? Why, I think there's
nothing in all the world to compare with it. I spend hours and hours
reading my favorite poets until I know their best poems by heart. I
wish I could write myself. I mean to some day if--" but his voice broke
and Dr. Fairfax said, "Perhaps, Jean, before you go, Richard will let
you read some of his own poems. He's a little particular who hears
them, but possibly you can persuade him to let you read them. I've got
to go out to the barn now to lock up for the night, so I'll leave you
here together a little while. I fear it's been a hard day for Jean and
Elizabeth, so we mustn't keep them up too late. But doesn't it seem
good, Dickie-boy, to have them here? It's really living again."

Left to themselves the two talked together, mostly about Jean's life in
California. Just as she was in the midst of a description of a camping
trip in the mountains Elizabeth hurried into the room. "What are you
two talking about so excitedly? Don't you want the lamp lighted now and
some more wood put on the fire? It's almost out. I came in to ask Jean
if she would like to go out into the kitchen to see the turkeys and
the other preparations, but you're having such a good time I hate to
disturb you."

"Oh, I can finish this another time, Elizabeth; I'd like to go with
you."

When Jean saw the size of the turkeys and the quantities of other
things piled up on the tables she exclaimed, "Why such an amount of
food? We'll never eat that in a week."

"Wait till you see all there are to eat it and you won't think this is
too much. I'll wager there won't be anything worth eating left over by
Friday. I think I'm about ready for bed, Jean. How about you?"

"Quite ready, thank you. Is it late? I've lost all track of time."

"Yes, it's nearly twelve o'clock. It will be very cold up in our room,
although I've lighted a fire in the stove, so I think we'd better
take up these freestones to keep our feet warm. Let's go in and say
good-night to father and Dick."

When the lights were out and Jean was thinking over the events of the
day she could not but admit to herself that she had come into the midst
of a family life wholly unknown to her before. She recognized a depth
and earnestness that were lacking in most of the families with whom she
was acquainted. Although she saw evidences of the lack of this world's
goods, there was a certain refinement and culture and an appreciation
of the things that make life worth while. She began to realize a little
the absence of purpose in her own life, and she saw for the first time
what she might do with all that was hers to use.

Thanksgiving morning was not as cold as the preceding ones and gave
promise of a pleasant day. The family arose early in spite of the late
hour of their retiring, and at breakfast Dr. Fairfax suggested that
they all attend the Thanksgiving service in the Congregational Church.
"By the way, Elizabeth," he said, "Mrs. Walton wants to know if you
will play the organ to-day. She hurt her wrist yesterday and won't be
able to play for several weeks. She would like to have you sing a solo,
too, if you can get some one to play for you."

Elizabeth blushed a little and Jean said, "Why, Elizabeth, I never knew
you could play and sing. Why haven't you said something about it at
college?"

"There were always so many others who did things better than I that I
didn't think any one wanted me. I only play and sing a little, but it
helps out here where there are so few to do anything. Will you play my
accompaniment if I sing this morning?"

"I have never played on an organ in my life, Elizabeth."

"But there is a piano, too, which we use in the Sunday school, and you
can play that."

"Why, yes, if you'd like to have me, but we'd better practise together
before the service begins."

"Yes, let's go into the other room now and run over one or two
selections."

At ten o'clock the five took their places in the big double-seated
sleigh and started for the church, a half-mile down the road. Many a
sleigh heavily loaded with old and young passed them, and it did not
take long for some one to discover Elizabeth and welcome her home.
"Why," said Jean, "you know everybody, Elizabeth."

"Yes, it isn't hard in a little town like this, especially when one's
father is the only doctor. I've driven with him ever since I can
remember."

They stopped before a severe white church on slightly elevated ground.
Dr. Fairfax helped the others to alight and then drove the horse around
to the sheds in back of the church.

Elizabeth and Jean went immediately to the choir loft, where they were
welcomed by the few singers that had already arrived. It seemed to
Jean as though most of them were Elizabeth's cousins, of one degree or
another, and she began to believe that everybody in town was related to
everybody else. When the congregation began to take their places, Jean
took a seat in the audience near the upright piano, which occupied most
of the space to the right of the pulpit.

The church was old and severe in every line, evidently built in the
early days when worship did not demand comfortable surroundings. The
pews were high and narrow, with faded red cushions and stools. By
a quarter of eleven every pew was filled and the old white-haired
preacher began the service. Jean watched Elizabeth at the organ and
marveled at the melody she seemed to be getting out of the wheezy
old instrument, which was pumped intermittently by a rosy-cheeked
youngster whose mind may have been more on the feast awaiting him at
home than on the hymns of praise. When it came Elizabeth's turn to
sing, she left the organ and stood in the center of the choir-loft and
waited for Jean to strike the opening chords on the piano. Although
Jean was a skilled performer on the piano it must be confessed that
she trembled a little as she began to play, but when Elizabeth's sweet
voice broke into song it gave her confidence, and it seemed the most
natural thing in the world for Elizabeth to be singing and she to be
playing in the little village church at Newburgh.

She never remembered much that the old preacher said in his eloquent
sermon, for during it all she seemed to be in somewhat of a haze, but
afterward she summed it up in three thoughts: the blessedness of home;
the joy of the home-coming; and the satisfaction of the parents in
knowing that their children have found life worth while and are making
something out of it.

There was a general handshaking after the benediction, and before she
left Jean thought she knew every person in the church. It did not take
her long to see how interested every one was in Elizabeth, and how glad
they were to have her with them again. She had a pleasant greeting for
them all, and never forgot to ask about the ones left at home.

As they drew up into the Fairfax yard again they found sleighs, single
and double, already there and more following them.

"You see, Jean, it's our turn this year to have the relatives at our
house," said Dr. Fairfax. "Ours is a pretty big family, and we're
counting on twenty or thereabouts to-day. Everybody helps and 'many
hands make light work,' you know. You must feel that you're one of the
family to-day, Jean, for we're always glad of one more."

There were twenty-six to sit down to the Thanksgiving dinner, nineteen
at the large table and seven children at a little one placed in the
kitchen. Jean decided that she had never before seen such quantities of
food, for in addition to the preparations Mrs. Fairfax had made, every
one of the guests had contributed what he thought to be his share.
There were turkeys and chickens, vegetables of all kinds, puddings,
pies, cakes, fruit, nuts, and candy passed and repassed until all
declared they could eat no more.

After dinner there were games and music and the children went outdoors
to slide. About six o'clock Mrs. Fairfax suggested supper, but she
could find no one inclined to eat except the children, who came in
hungry again after their vigorous exercise. Some of the families having
a long distance to ride felt obliged to leave at seven, and from then
until ten o'clock there was a general departure. When the last sleigh
drove out of the yard Elizabeth dropped into her father's old armchair
with, "Oh, I'm tired, but wasn't it splendid?"

The next two days were filled with happy experiences for Jean. She
coasted on a neighboring hill, drove over to "Aunty" Wilbur's for a
"left over" Thanksgiving dinner, went down to Cousin Mary Fairfax's
to a candy-pull, and helped Elizabeth in her household duties. She
fairly reveled in the outdoor life and the beauty of the hilltop, and
declared that for the first time since she had left California was she
really living. Before she realized it, Saturday night came and the
visit was almost at an end.

After supper, Jean and Dick found themselves alone again before the
fireplace and Dick asked that she finish her story of the camp in
the mountains which had been interrupted Wednesday evening. When she
finished the narrative, she timidly asked Dick if he would read her
some of his poems.

"No, I'll not read them to you, but I'll recite them to you if you care
to have me." In his sweet, low voice, very similar to his father's,
he recited one after another of his poems, short little things, to be
sure, but full of feeling and the promise of what was to come later on.

"Splendid," said Jean, when he had finished; "I know you're going to
make something of this gift, aren't you?"

"Yes, if I ever have an opportunity. I want to study and have the best
education it's possible to get. Since I've had the fever I've wondered
if I shall ever get to college. I'm not nearly as strong as I used to
be, and sometimes it seems as if I never would be again, but I must
live, I must amount to something. I've got too much to live for to give
up now."

"What do you intend to do with your education, Richard?"

"I don't know yet, Jean, but a man can do anything if he's educated.
Then the whole world's open to him, but when he's not it closes its
heavy gates to him and he can beat against them in vain. What are you
fitting yourself for, Jean?"

[Illustration: "I DON'T KNOW YET, JEAN, BUT A MAN CAN DO ANYTHING IF
HE'S EDUCATED."--_Page 152_.]

"Why, Dick, I'm almost ashamed to tell you. I've never thought anything
about the real purpose of college. I came to Ashton because my father
and brothers thought it the best place for me to go. I'm only going to
be there one year, and after that I think I'll study music. So far this
year I've amounted to nothing; I haven't done any studying and received
two faculty warnings. That's pretty serious, you know, but I'm going
back Monday morning with the firm determination to do something. You
and Elizabeth are an inspiration to me and I'm not going to waste any
longer the opportunities that are waiting for me. And don't you get
discouraged and worried about not going to college. You're going, I
know you are, and next year, too. I've made up my mind to that, and in
the meantime I shall need lots of encouragement as an inspiration from
you on your hilltop. You'll never know all that this visit has meant to
me, and I thank you all for taking me right into your family. This is
a secret for us alone, Dick. Please don't say anything about it to the
others, for maybe they wouldn't understand, but here's my hand on it,
Dick. You've my promise that from now on I'll make something more of
myself."



                             CHAPTER VIII

                            THE CORAL BEADS


Monday morning at half-past eleven o'clock Jean reported at the office
in answer to the summons she had received. The clerk, Miss Stetson, led
her into the dean's private office and there she found Miss Thurston
awaiting her. As yet Jean had met her only in a social way and she felt
a little ashamed at the thought of what brought her there.

"Good morning, Miss Cabot. Take this chair here by the window. I have
a little matter to talk over with you. I find you have cut Chapel ten
times since the opening of college, which is altogether too many times.
Do you realize that only thirteen cuts are allowed for the whole first
semester? Chapel-cutting is a very serious offense here and I hope I
shall not have to speak to you about it again. And then in the matter
of gymnasium, Miss Matthews reports an utter lack of interest on your
part in the classes and frequent absences. Gymnasium is required work
and should be completed satisfactorily freshman year. I'm afraid, Miss
Cabot, that you are not taking college seriously enough."

"I agree with you, Miss Thurston; I have not taken it seriously enough
in the past, but from now on I intend to go at things differently.
I do not think you will ever need to call me here again. I'm sure I
shall never be an honor pupil, but I mean to do the best that's in me.
It will be hard work, for I have practically all the work of the past
three months to make up besides a condition in French to remove."

"Yes, it will be hard, Miss Cabot, but I have the confidence that you
can do it if you've made up your mind to it. That's all for to-day,
thank you."

As Jean left the office she started off in the direction of the
library. There were some references in English literature which she
wanted to look up as soon as possible. To tell the truth, it was the
first time she had been to the library except the evening she had
rescued Elizabeth from spending the night there, and she knew nothing
about the system. However, she found Natalie Lawton in the magazine
room and told her what she wanted.

"Why, Jean, aren't you getting rather studious all of a sudden? Come
right over here into the English department. You can take any of the
books down to read here, or if you want to take books home for a week's
use ask the librarian for a card and have the book charged. I always
prefer to do my hard studying in my room, for there are so many girls
down here talking and walking round that I can't ever get my mind on
what I'm reading. After you get your books I want to talk to you a
minute about basket-ball. When you're ready, come out to the desk and
I'll help you."

After Jean found the two books she needed and had obtained permission
to keep them a week she and Natalie left the building and strolled
slowly up to Merton. "I wonder if you've ever thought about athletics
at college, Jean. I think you ought to make something, sure. It's up
to you to choose what appeals most to you and try for all you're worth
to make it. Every girl ought to do something for her college and her
class, and it's only the exceptional girl that can do more than one
thing well. Some make the glee club, some basket-ball, some the crew,
some the track team, and some tennis. I've been thinking it over lately
and I've decided that you're just the sort for basket-ball. If you
don't make the college team perhaps you can make the 1915 team, and its
really more fun to make that than the other, for the freshman-sophomore
basket-ball game is the biggest thing of the year. Basket-ball practice
begins this week and I want to see you out Wednesday afternoon. Next to
tennis, basket-ball is the very best sport I know of. You've got to try
for tennis, too, in the spring, but that's a long way off. Will you go
out for basket-ball?"

"Yes, Natalie, if I have the time, but I've got to devote myself a
little more to study from now on, so don't expect me to practise very
often. I'll make an awful try, for I've always wanted to be able to
play basket-ball. I've never been in a game in my life, so of course I
couldn't hope to make anything."

"Lots of girls make the teams who have never played till they came
here. It's good hard practice does it. To change the subject, what kind
of a time did you have in New York?"

"I didn't go. Tuesday night I got a telegram from Tom saying my aunt
was sick and our visit was all off."

"But you didn't stay at college, did you?"

"No; I went home with Elizabeth and had a perfectly wonderful time.
I've never been in the country before, and of course there was
something new for me to do all the time. And she has the nicest family
I've ever met. None of us here at college half appreciate Elizabeth.
I have discovered lots of things about her that I never would have
dreamed of, and I think you other girls will, too, as you come to know
her. Are you going right in to supper or will you come up to my room
while I brush up a bit?"

"I think I'll just stop a minute in Clare Anderson's room to help her
a little on her algebra. She asked me this noon if I'd go in before
supper. Poor little thing, she's having a terrible struggle with it and
I pity her from the bottom of my heart. You ought to thank your lucky
stars that you're not taking mathematics. Here we are at her room. See
you later," and the two girls parted on the second floor.

After supper it was Jean's turn to play for the dancing, so Marjorie
Remington did not have an opportunity to talk to her, although she
had tried to ever since dinner. The minute Jean arose from the piano
Marjorie hurried up to her and asked her to come up to her room for a
few moments. "I hear you didn't go to New York after all, Jean, but
to your room-mate's instead," said Midge, after they were comfortably
seated in 47. "What possessed you to spend five perfectly good days
with that stick? You knew I was going to be in Boston at my aunt's and
would love to have you with me. I should think you would have thought
of that and come and told me. I never enjoyed myself more in all my
life. Jack certainly outdid himself to give me a good time.

"What on earth could you find to do up in the country with Elizabeth?
I think I'd prefer staying in my room here for a vacation to having to
visit with such a little, insignificant goody-good as she is."

Jean had listened as long as she could, and she stood up and started
for the door, saying, "Marjorie, Elizabeth is my room-mate and I love
her dearly and shall not stay here a minute longer to hear you abuse
her. Unless you are willing to show her some respect I do not care for
your friendship," and she walked out into the hall.

"Jean, pardon me," said Marjorie, hastening after her, "I didn't
realize you two were such great friends. When did all this happen? Must
have been rather sudden. By the way, have you found your coral beads?"

"Why, Marjorie, how did you know I'd lost them?"

"Oh, I heard all about it. A little bird told me," said Marjorie, as
she shut the door into her room.

When Jean entered her own room she found Elizabeth waiting for her. She
was sitting at her desk and held in one hand Jean's coral beads.

"Oh, Jean, what do you think! I've found your coral beads, but in the
queerest place. I just went to my desk to get my fountain pen which I
keep in the little drawer at the right, and there were the beads. How
do you suppose they got there? Some one must have put them there, but
you don't believe I did it, do you?"

"No, indeed, Elizabeth. You'd be the last person in the world to put
them there."

Without another word Jean turned and almost ran up to Grace Hooper's
room and fortunately found her alone. "Gracie, did you tell any one
besides Mary Boynton about my losing my beads?"

"No, Jean; don't you know we decided it was best to say nothing about
it. Have you found them?"

"Yes, they were only misplaced, so please don't say anything more
about it to anybody. I'm glad now that I didn't put up a notice on
the bulletin board; it would have caused so much talk. Good-by. I
can't stop; I've a lot of studying to do," and she hurried on to Mary
Boynton's room, where she found Mary and her room-mate hard at their
lessons for the next day.

"Please excuse me, Ethel, if I take Mary out in the hall to whisper
to her a moment." When they shut the door behind them Jean began
excitedly, "Mary Boynton, did you tell any one besides Grace Hooper
about my losing my coral beads? I've found them again; they were only
misplaced, and I'm sorry I bothered you about them. Did you tell any of
the girls?"

"No, Jean; to tell you the honest truth, I haven't thought about the
matter since Tuesday night. You were coming to me Monday morning if
you didn't find them, and when you didn't appear I decided you'd found
them."

"Well, please don't say or think anything more about the matter. Sorry
to have taken you from your studying. Did you have a pleasant vacation?"

"Yes; I went home with Ethel. Come up and see us when you can stay
longer. Good night."

Jean hastened down the corridor and up the stairs and along fourth
floor until she came to Marjorie Remington's room. She hesitated a
moment at the door and then hearing no voices she knocked. Marjorie
appeared and looked a little surprised to see Jean back so soon, but
she motioned her to a comfortable rocker and offered her a plate of
fudge which looked as if it had just been made. Jean refused the chair
and the candy and stood perfectly still in the center of the room,
without saying a word. Marjorie, to relieve the situation, said, "I'm
glad you've come back, Jean. Can't you sit down and talk to me? I'm
awfully lonesome to-night."

"No; I can only stay a moment, Marjorie. I came in to tell you
that I've found my coral beads and to ask you why you put them in
Elizabeth's desk."

"Why, Jean, what do you mean? What have I got to do with your coral
beads? I don't understand what you're talking about."

"Well, if you will not answer my first question, will you tell me who
told you I had lost my beads?"

"I did tell you it was a little bird," answered Marjorie, laughingly.

"This is no time for joking, Marjorie. I ask you once more to explain
it to me."

"And if I refuse?"

"Well, if you refuse I shall give you my explanation."

"Very well, your explanation then."

"For some reason all the year you have disliked my room-mate and have
tried to make her uncomfortable on every possible occasion. Lately you
seem to have had the same feeling towards me. When you were talking
to me last Tuesday evening as I was packing, you must have taken my
coral beads when I went into the bedroom to get my opera coat, and
sometime later, probably on Sunday, before we arrived home, you put
them in Elizabeth's desk to point suspicion towards her. Fortunately
I have come to know Elizabeth so much better these last few days than
all the rest of the term that I am sure stealing is the very last
thing she would resort to. It is true that she is poor and has none of
the things that you and I have, in abundance, but she is honest and
conscientious, and kind to every one with whom she comes in contact.
No one knows what I have just told you but ourselves, and I ask you now
to tell me why you did such a thing. You may be perfectly sure that I
never shall say anything about it if you will promise never to do such
a thing again."

"Well, Jean, you're a regular old Sherlock Holmes. There isn't very
much for me to say now. It's pretty much as you've said. I did take
the beads and put them in Elizabeth's desk because I wanted you to
believe she stole them. I've never liked her from the first time I saw
her. I was provoked that she broke up our plans for the first night at
college by coming in late. I'm jealous, horribly jealous, and I didn't
want her to be your friend. I was disappointed because you didn't join
Gamma Delt. I've wanted you all along for my best friend, and I saw I
was gradually losing you. I haven't many friends and I couldn't stand
yours. That's all. What do you think of me now?"

Jean answered very slowly, "I'm very sorry, Marjorie. I had hoped from
the first that we might be good friends. You were kind to me and
seemed like a girl after my own heart. We still can be friends, I hope,
but you must not injure me or any of my friends. We'll forget this
incident and begin over again if you say so."

"All right, Jean. Thank you for your kindness. I'm afraid I don't
deserve it. You see what a nasty disposition I've got, but I'll try to
conquer it in the future. Now won't you stay a while? I want to tell
you about my good times in Boston."

"No; not to-night, Marjorie; I'm going to study, but some other time
I'll be glad to hear all about it. Good night." And then Jean opened
her own door and said to Elizabeth, "Now, dear, I'm ready for the
German lesson."



                              CHAPTER IX

                        THE CHAFING-DISH PARTY


"Elizabeth, have the girls announced the date of the French play?"

"Yes, I think it's December eighteenth, the Wednesday night before
college closes. Of course you're going?"

"Yes, and I've been thinking I'd invite Constance Huntington out for
the play and have a rabbit afterward. I haven't made anything but
fudge in my chafing-dish since I bought it, and it's about time I did.
We could have ten or twelve of the girls in after the play and get
permission to stay up a little later than usual. I think I'll write
Connie to-day and invite her out. Would you mind sleeping with Anne
Cockran that night so Connie could have your bed?"

"Why, of course not, Jean; I'd be glad to do it and anything else I
can to help you. Who's in the play?"

"I don't know many of them, but Peggy Allison is to be a man and Alice
Cunningham's got the star girl's part. They say she's a wonder when
it comes to acting. Then Bess Atherton and Joe Knight and Fliss White
and Mary Brownell are in it, but I don't know the rest very well. None
of the girls from my division are in the club, for you have to be at
least a soph, to be eligible and then only a small proportion of the
upper-class girls make it, for you have to get high rank in French. Oh
dear, I'd never make it if I studied a hundred years. I can't seem to
get it through this stupid old head of mine, and as for talking it and
acting it too--why, it's simply beyond my comprehension."

Jean wrote her letter to Constance and soon received word that she
would be delighted to accept the invitation and would be out early in
the afternoon, but she would have to take the first train back in the
morning as she had a lesson at noon.

The morning of the eighteenth was dull and cloudy, and before noon it
was snowing hard and had every appearance of a bad storm. Jean stood at
the window after dinner and watched the whirling snowflakes. "She won't
come, I know she won't come, if it snows like this, and after I've
gone and made all those elaborate preparations I call it a mean shame.
Lucky I went down to the Square yesterday and bought the food, for I
shouldn't enjoy lugging things home to-day in this storm. Well, if she
doesn't come we'll celebrate just the same. I hope it won't be so deep
by night that we can't get up to the gym. I think I'll do my packing
now, for I sha'n't have much more time before the train starts unless
I sit up to-night after the girls go. You tell your people, Elizabeth,
that I'm very much obliged for their dandy invitation for the holidays,
but I simply can't postpone my New York visit again. But there are
other vacations coming, and I'll be pretty glad to go home with you
then. Here's a box I want you to put into your suit-case, but it's not
to be opened until Christmas morning, and this letter's for Dick, but
it's so valuable I won't trust it to Uncle Sam and I want you to put
it in his stocking, or if he's too old to hang up his stocking you can
put it under his plate at breakfast. I wonder when my box from home
will arrive. Father wrote me he had sent it. We always hang up our
stockings at home Christmas Eve and then have a big Christmas tree at
night. It's the first time I've ever missed it, and unless I'm having
an awfully good time in New York, I'll be pretty homesick."

Jean worked hard at her packing and after she had finished she went
downstairs to do a little practising. The piano was so arranged that
she had a good view of Faculty Row and it must be confessed that she
kept her eyes there as much as on her music. At last she saw Constance
battling against the wind and the snow and she ran to the door to greet
her. "Oh, I'm so glad you've come, Constance! I was afraid you couldn't
get over here. Are the cars on time, or did you come by train?"

"I went across the city on the Elevated and took the train out. It
isn't deep enough yet to affect the trains, but it will be soon if it
keeps up like this. The wind is so strong it's beginning to drift.
By morning I may not be able to get back or you to go to New York. I
thought I'd never get up the Row; as it is, my feet are soaked. Let
me borrow your slippers and some dry stockings and I'll be all right.
I'm crazy to see your room, Jean. Those snapshots you sent are mighty
attractive, but I know the original's lots better."

"Fine," said Constance after she had stepped into 45. "It's so simple,
not packed brimful with the useless trifles one generally sees in
college girls' rooms. You can find your way around in these rooms
all right. You ought to see the box I live in. Positively we have to
move some of our furniture out into the hall at night before we can
get undressed and into bed. You don't mind if I look around, do you?
I love new things. What a splendid picture of Tom! He didn't give me
one; guess I'll have to remind him of it. What's this picture of an old
farmhouse on your desk?"

"That's my room-mate's home in Newburgh. You know I spent the
Thanksgiving holidays there and quite fell in love with the place."

"With the place or somebody on the place? Come, Jean, 'fess up'; don't
keep any secrets from me."

"Well, both, Connie; they're the nicest family I've met in the East.
Here, put on these stockings and slippers and dry your feet on the
radiator or you'll catch your death-o'-cold. Then we'll go downstairs
and see some of the girls. I've invited a few up here after the play,
but I promised one or two who are very anxious to meet you that I'd
take you in to see them before supper. I hope you'll like the girls
out here. I think they're a mighty jolly lot. My room-mate is studying
algebra in one of the freshman rooms, but she'll be back before long.
She's quiet, but there's ever so much to her."

Presently they started down to Peggy Allison's room and found she and
Natalie had made tea for them and had sandwiches, nuts and candy.
"You'll spoil our appetites for supper, Peggy, with all this glorious
feed."

"Just as well, Jean," said Peggy; "it's Wednesday night and we always
have beans. I think baked beans on Saturdays and Wednesdays, too, is
the limit."

"Well," said Natalie, "let's not go down for supper. We can stay here
and eat all we want to. I don't believe Peg will eat anything, she's so
excited. She's been rehearsing all the afternoon, and all the morning
she worked on the scenery. She's got a stunning costume and make-up.
Wait till you see her and you'll say she's the handsomest cavalier
you've ever set eyes on, and fall in love with her on the spot. Isn't
it a shame it's storming so hard? I don't believe half of the guests
will come, but perhaps Mlle. Franchant will let them repeat it after
vacation. It's a shame after everybody has worked so hard."

"Thanks for your invitation for supper, Nat, but I think Constance and
I had better go downstairs, for I want her to see our dining-room and
the girls. Why, there's the bell this minute and we intended to go into
some of the other rooms. Good luck to you, Peggy; I know you'll be the
bright and shining star. Oh, where is your seat, Natalie? Ours are in
'G.' We freshmen in the house got some together. Don't forget you two
are coming up to our room after the play. I've got permission for us
to stay up till eleven o'clock, so if the play is late, hustle down as
soon as you can."

The play was held in the gymnasium, and by eight o'clock it was crowded
to the doors in spite of the storm. The girls were greatly disappointed
that they could not wear their best-looking gowns, but it was dangerous
to risk them in the drifting snow, so most of them wore light waists
with their dark skirts. The French play always was considered one of
the events of the year and anticipated by the whole college. This
year the play presented was "Andromaque," and given wonderfully well.
Of course the most interesting parts were those where the girls took
the parts of men. As the masculine element were not invited to attend
the performance, the girls felt free to dress as fancy prompted them
and, as Natalie had said, "did make perfectly stunning men." All the
girls did well, and unless one were prejudiced, one had to admit that
one girl did no better than another. There was so much applause and
encoring that it was nearly ten before the last act began.

For some time Jean had been getting nervous and every little while
whispered to Constance, "If they don't finish soon we won't have any
time for the rabbit. Usually we can't have company in our rooms after
ten, but to-night is a special occasion and the girls can stay till
eleven. An hour isn't very long for a party."

"This is great, Jean," said Constance; "I don't understand one word of
French, but I think it's stacks of fun to watch them. It's the first
time I've ever seen girls play men's parts. Never mind if we don't have
time for the rabbit; it isn't the best thing in the world to be eating
at eleven o'clock at night, you know."

"Well," said Jean, "I shall be disappointed if we don't make it. I've
been wanting some for ages. Oh, I know this must be the end. Wasn't it
splendid? Now I feel lots better that it's over. Come on, girls! Hustle
up; you've all got to help me. Don't get lost in the snowdrifts, for
it wouldn't be any fun to-night to have to hunt you up."

The six freshmen and Constance went down to the Hall together and up
into 45; a little later came Marjorie Remington and Sallie Lawrence and
Grace Hooper and Natalie Lawton. "Where's Peggy?" asked Jean.

"She'll be here in a moment; she stopped to wash off a little of the
paint and get into some decent clothes."

"Oh," said Grace Hooper, "why didn't she come the way she was? Wasn't
she perfectly adorable? I'd be only too glad to let her make love to
me. I'm going to try for the French club next year."

"Now, Grace," said Jean, "make yourself useful as well as ornamental.
Please beat this egg. You'll have to use a fork; it's the nearest thing
to an egg-beater I can find. Marjorie, will you put the crackers on the
plates? Sallie, cut up the cheese, will you?" and she gave everybody
something to do. By the time the work was all distributed, Peggy burst
into the room crying, "_J'ai faim, j'ai faim, mes chères enfants._ Oh,
I forgot, I mustn't make so much noise; it's after ten and some of the
girls are trying to get to sleep, but I'm so tickled the old French
play is over at last that I could shout for joy. Wasn't it awful there
where I forgot? I knew I should, for I did at every rehearsal. Here,
Jean, what is there for me to do?"

"Nothing, Miss Star Actress, or should I say Mr. Star Actor; you have
entertained us so well all the evening that we'll let you continue
to do so until we've something to eat. Oh, dear, I haven't a bit of
alcohol; I knew I'd forget something. Who's got some to spare? Midge,
you're the nearest, please skip over to your room and get some."

When Marjorie returned with a huge bottle, Jean filled the lamp of
her chafing-dish, not noticing that she was spilling some drops of
the alcohol on the papers she had left on the table after undoing the
numerous packages. She put the ingredients into the dish and they
lighted the lamp. All went well for a moment or two and she kept
stirring the melted butter and cheese. Now that their work was done the
girls felt freer to talk and left Jean to herself. She went over to
her closet to take out a box of chocolates which she had hidden there
and then circulated them among the girls. When she returned to the
table she saw that some of the alcohol which she had dropped on the
platter was burning. Thinking it would do no harm she let it burn until
it blazed up and caught the papers near by that had been wet with the
drops of alcohol. In a moment they were all ablaze and the girls were
so frightened that they stood still without knowing what to do. Danger
threatened Merton and perhaps all Ashton, and something must be done at
once. Quick as a flash Jean pushed the burning papers onto the platter
and took hold of it firmly with both hands.

"Somebody open the south window, quick!" she cried. For a second no one
seemed to know just which was the south window or whether there was any
window in the room. Then Elizabeth ran to the window and opened it wide
and Jean in a flash was in front of it and threw the blazing platter
and its contents down into the snow below.

[Illustration: "SOMEBODY OPEN THE SOUTH WINDOW, QUICK!"--_Page 178_.]

As soon as the danger was over the girls realized what Jean had done.
"How could you do it, Jean? How did you think of it? Oh, look at your
hands and face; you've burned them!" they all cried.

"No; I haven't. Not badly; just one thumb and it doesn't hurt much. I
guess I've singed my eyebrows and a little of my front hair, but the
rabbit is spoiled. Isn't it a shame? But I'm not going to let that
perfectly good chafing-dish stay down in the snow and get buried up
and stay there all vacation. I'm going to put on my rubber boots and
a short skirt and sweater and go down and get it. I don't want any
of you to come with me. I know how to unbolt the door, and no one
will ever know anything about it if you'll keep it to yourselves.
Here, Elizabeth, pass the sandwiches and olives and other eats. I'm
determined, though, that you shall have a rabbit and I've got enough
stuff here to make another even if there's only enough for one cracker
apiece; that's better than nothing."

"But," protested Peggy, "you won't have time; it's almost quarter of
eleven now, and you know we must get back to our rooms at eleven
surely or we'll never get permission again."

"Well, girls," said Jean, "I shall make that rabbit to-night if I'm
expelled to-morrow. You must go, I suppose, at eleven, but we two can
stay up as long as we please in our own room if we're not disturbing
any one else. Constance and I will eat all we can to-night, and I'll
see that the rest of you get yours to-morrow. Cold rabbit is as good
as hot; some like it better, particularly if it's thick and leathery.
Aren't these rubber boots grand? I never thought when I bought them
last month that I should dedicate them hunting for lost chafing-dishes
and rabbits in snowdrifts. Well, here goes, switch the light over
to the south window and watch me discover the North Pole, or the
chafing-dish. Just wet this handkerchief first, will you, Nat, so I
can wind it round my throbbing thumb. How's that for alliteration,
freshies; wouldn't that please Miss Whiting?"

After winding the wet handkerchief around her thumb she put on some
heavy gloves and was ready to start. The corridors were dark, for all
the lights had been put out at half-past ten. She groped her way along
the banisters and managed somehow to reach the lower hallway. It seemed
as though every step had made the long stairs creak and protest against
what she was doing, and she was sure when she hit against a hall chair
that she would awaken Mrs. Thompson. She waited a few moments and
listened, but apparently Mrs. Thompson was sleeping peacefully, little
dreaming of what was happening just outside her sacred domain. She
finally located the great bolt and in a moment had the door open. She
moved over the door-mat to prevent the doors closing, for if the wind
should blow them together again she would not be able to open them
unless one of the girls came down and helped her.

Out on the steps her courage failed her for a moment, for the snow was
whirled in every direction by the terrific wind, but she stepped down
into it and instantly was up to her knees. She decided to give it up
and return to the girls, but she hated to be defeated in anything, so
attempted it again. She could hardly walk, but had to scuff along,
making her own path. It was a long way down the east side of the
dormitory and then round the corner to the south side. The light from
45 shone brightly and guided her to the spot where she expected to find
the chafing-dish. At last she reached it and saw the tray sticking up
in one place and not far from it the standard and a little farther the
two dishes and cover. She gathered them in her arms and started back,
after waving to the girls in the upper windows. After she had gone two
or three steps she realized that she hadn't found the alcohol lamp, and
as that was a very important item, she put the other parts down again
and began to hunt for the lost one. It was nowhere to be found and had
probably fallen out when she threw the burning mass from the window,
and being the smallest part and the lightest had undoubtedly gone the
greatest distance, and being the hottest as well, it probably sank down
deep in the snow. She was about to give up when her fingers groping
around on the surface found what she wanted so badly.

Now that she had it all she returned the same way she had come, but it
was easier now because she had only to retrace her footsteps. Still,
it was no easy task and took some little time. Just as she reached the
stone steps she heard the campus clock ring out eleven strokes. She
entered the door and closed it as cautiously as possible and put the
mat in its proper place. Then she groped her way up the three flights
of stairs and was soon in 45, breathless but triumphant. "Here it is,
girls, and some of the cheese is still in the dish; have some?"

"Jean, you're a hero," said Peggy, "but we mustn't stay another minute;
it's already struck eleven. Sorry to have missed the rabbit, but the
other things were delicious and your adventure such a novelty in the
way of entertainment. Don't do it again, for it's rather dangerous
unless one has your nerve. Good night. Tell us the rest of the story in
the morning."

"All right, but 'Mum's the word,' girls," said Jean, as she followed
them to the door. "At our first reunion after vacation I'll tell you
all about the hairbreadth escapes I had in the mad pursuit of the
rabbit. Isn't that a thrilling subject for my next English theme?
Quietly, now; don't make any noise; don't anybody stub her toe or trip
on the stairs."

"And now," said Jean, as she came back into the room, "I'm going to
finish that rabbit if I don't get a particle of sleep to-night. You can
retire gracefully, if you so desire, to Elizabeth's bed and I'll stick
to my post of duty till the rabbit dies."

"No," said Constance, "I'm not a bit sleepy; I'd rather watch you, but
first can't I put something on those burns?"

"No, thanks, Connie, they aren't half bad, and if I keep something wet
on my thumb it will be all right."

Into the chafing-dish went all of the remaining ingredients, few to
be sure, but enough to half fill the dish. There was no egg but Jean
decided to risk it without. She stirred and stirred, but it refused to
thicken, and as the college clock struck twelve she decided it never
would. "Well, we can put a little in these saucers and eat it with a
spoon and perhaps by morning what we leave in the dish will thicken
enough to spread on crackers. I mean that every girl shall have a
souvenir of the great and glorious occasion."

They put a little in the saucers and broke in some cracker. Constance
took a mouthful and exclaimed, "Oh, Jean, the mustard! How much did you
put in?"

"Why, just what the rule said, of course."

"It must be a funny rule, for it's so awfully hot you never can eat it."

"Well, I should say so," said Jean, after a taste. "Let's hope it will
cool off by morning. Anyway, I've done what I said I should; it's made
and we've eaten some. Now let's go to bed at once. I shall leave all
the dishes and cleaning up until morning. Fortunately I have two spare
hours before train time and my trunk is all packed. Isn't this room
a mess? Let's retire gracefully to our downy couches and forget what
we've left behind. Do you think my eyebrows, or rather what there is
left of them, look badly?"

"No one would ever know what had happened unless you told them. I think
you got out of it mighty easily. It's a wonder you weren't burned
badly, or the curtains didn't catch and start a fire. What a terrible
night to have been burned out. Ough! I don't like the idea at all. Are
you sure everything is all right out in the study?"

"Why, of course, you big silly. Now calm yourself and get into bed, and
we'll talk it over in the morning."

The first thing Jean did after the rising bell awoke her from a sound
sleep was to go out into the study and look into the chafing-dish. Yes,
the rabbit had hardened and looked anything but attractive. She took
two crackers and put the rabbit between them, making a somewhat bulky
sandwich in its proportions but nevertheless edible. With Constance's
assistance she made twelve of them and wrapped each one in some tissue
paper and tied them with narrow white ribbon. Slipping on her kimona
and bed shoes she put the packages into a small basket and hastened
out in the hall and stopped at the room of each of her guests of the
evening before. To each girl she presented a neat package and wishes
for a Merry Christmas.

Constance and she were a little late at the breakfast table but took
their places without a smile or look at any of the twelve girls who
were awaiting their arrival. Unless one had looked very carefully
one would not have perceived that Jean's right thumb was carefully
done up in a white bandage. Aside from this there was no indication
of the incidents of the previous evening. Breakfast talk centered on
the excellence of the French play the night before and the acting of
Peggy Allison. Just before breakfast was over Mary Boynton arose and
announced two important notices before the departure of the girls for
the Christmas holidays.

"The Merton House Entertainment Committee have planned a costume party
for January thirteenth, to be limited to the girls of the dormitory.
Every girl is expected to be in costume. For further particulars apply
to Helena Burrage, Florence Goodnow, and Mabel Addison.

"The proctors for the two weeks beginning January sixth, have been
appointed as follows: first floor, Lena Hutchinson; second floor,
Rebecca Chapin; third floor, Mary Andrews; fourth floor, Jean Cabot;
fifth floor, Sarah Dillon. They will meet for a few moments after
breakfast in the reading-room."

Then the girls filed out and hurried upstairs for last preparations.
The proctors consulted together a few moments and were given
instructions as to their duties and then were dismissed. Jean and
Constance decided to go to Chapel and clean up afterwards. It took till
nearly ten before the last dish was washed and wiped, and Constance had
to hurry for the train. "You must be sure to visit me after vacation,
but I'll promise you no such exciting times as you gave me. My best to
Tom. Thanks for your hospitality," she said as she boarded the train.
Jean watched until the train was out of sight and then went up to ten
o'clock recitation. At twelve she boarded a crowded train and left
Ashton and its problems behind her.



                               CHAPTER X

                           THE COSTUME PARTY


The Christmas holidays passed all too quickly and were crowded to the
utmost with good times. It was with a little reluctance that Jean took
the noon train from New York on Wednesday, January eighth, for Boston.
Tom went with her to the station and saw her safely aboard. There were
many of the college girls on the train and as she went through the
Pullman looking for her chair she heard Marjorie Remington calling her.

"Here's a vacant chair beside me, Jean. Come over and sit down in it,
even if it isn't yours, and if any one comes in later to claim it you
can move over into your own. I want to hear about your good times, and
I've got just stacks to tell you."

The girls kept up a spirited conversation all the way to Boston and one
incident followed another in rapid succession until Marjorie said,
"Before we reach Boston I want to tell you a secret, Jean, but first
you must promise me not to tell a soul at college." Jean promised
faithfully, and Marjorie continued, "Jack and I are engaged. Here's
my ring, but I don't dare wear it openly yet, so I shall put it on a
chain and wear it around my neck under my dress where no one can see
it. You see, father and mother don't quite approve of Jack and wouldn't
allow me to announce my engagement, especially while I'm in college,
but we couldn't wait any longer and Jack gave me the ring Christmas
in a box of candy, so no one suspected. Isn't it a beautiful diamond?
You know, Jack has plenty of money in his own name, but father doesn't
always approve of the way he spends it. We haven't made any plans yet,
but I think we'll be married in the fall. Jack graduates in June, and
I surely am not coming back to Ashton another year. I almost fear I'll
flunk out at midyear's, but I'm going to dig hard from now on, for I
want to be in the East until June and if I should flunk it would be
home for me and no Jack.

"To think you haven't met him yet! Well, you will to-day, for he's
going to meet me at the train if he possibly can. He had to go back
earlier than I, for Harvard began last week. I think I'll stay in town
for an early dinner, but I'll be out before eight. I suppose you're
looking forward with joy to your duties as proctor of fourth floor. I
don't envy you your honor; I suppose it will be thrust upon me soon,
for it must be getting pretty near my turn. Well, I sha'n't bother you,
for it's study for mine every minute till midyear's. The costume party
is the only dissipation that I can allow myself. I made the dandiest
costume at home, but I can't tell you what it is. Did you make one?"

"No, I haven't had time even to think about one, but I'll fix up
something myself, or hire a costume in town. Like you, I'm going to
study as hard as I can so I sha'n't have time for anything else. I'm
awfully surprised to hear you're engaged. Do you think it's just right
to keep it from your father and mother? I should think you'd want them
to know about it first. I should if it were I."

"But I shouldn't dare tell them now. I'm hoping they'll feel all right
about it later. We're almost in Boston now. I do hope nothing will keep
Jack from meeting me."

Marjorie was not to be disappointed, for Jack was at the station to
meet her, and she proudly introduced him to Jean. He invited her to
accompany them up town for dinner, but she declined and left them at
the Elevated. When she arrived at Merton she found Elizabeth had not
come, but she knew the last train from Wilton Junction reached Boston
about eight and she felt sure Elizabeth would take that one.

She was not mistaken, and about half-past eight Elizabeth arrived, very
tired from her hard trip. After she had removed her hat and coat, she
said, "Has Marjorie Remington returned yet, Jean?"

"I don't know, Elizabeth. I came on with her from New York, but I left
her in Boston and she said she was coming out after an early dinner.
Why do you ask?"

"I came out from Boston with a girl I thought was she, but she was
with some fellow I never have seen out here. They were walking up the
Row very slowly and as I passed them they were talking together very
earnestly. From what I heard I could not believe it was Marjorie in
spite of the fact that it looked so much like her."

"Probably it was Jack Goodrich from Harvard. He lives in Detroit and
he and Marjorie have always been good friends. Now tell me about your
vacation."

They began an exchange of experiences but were interrupted every few
minutes by girls coming in to welcome them back. Nearly every one
ended with, "Did you make your costume for Monday night?" It was late
when Jean and Elizabeth found themselves alone without fear of further
interruption. "Jean," said Elizabeth, "I want to thank you for what you
did for us all at Christmas, and most of all for Brother's gift. He has
written you, too, but I must tell you all that it means to me, for I
feel as though it were benefiting me as much as him. To think that he
can go to college next year! I can hardly believe it now, although I
have thought and talked of little else all the vacation. How could you
be so generous?"

"Oh, let's not talk about it, Elizabeth. You know I have more spending
money than I know how to use, and father helped some because I wrote
him all about Dick and his patience and courage and talent. You can
finish your course, too, perhaps, and Dick be in college at the same
time. So let's not ever say anything more about it."

The costume party was to be held in the dining-room, reading-room,
and hall of Merton, and all the afternoon the girls strung Japanese
lanterns and brought down furniture from rooms above to make as many
cozy corners as space allowed. Supper was to be a little early, and
after it was over the tables and chairs were to be moved out and the
floors waxed. The electric lights were covered with red paper to dim
their brightness, and the piano was moved out into the center of the
living-room so that the music could be heard better in all the rooms.

By eight o'clock most of the girls were downstairs, and in their
costumes and masks presented an attractive appearance. Half of the
girls wore men's costumes of all periods, and there were kings and
queens, clowns and French dolls, Quakers and follies, peasant maids
from many countries, shepherds and shepherdesses, Topsies, Marguerites
and priests, nuns and dancing maids were present, and others too
numerous to mention. A local pianist had been hired, and she was the
only one in the room not in costume. Even Mrs. Thompson was somewhere
in the merry throng.

There was first a grand march to be followed by dancing until ten
o'clock, when the unmasking was to take place and light refreshments
served. Gradually, little groups of girls thought they recognized each
other and surmised the identity of certain others. Jean and Elizabeth
and Sallie Lawrence were resting after a strenuous Virginia Reel. "Who
is that couple who have danced together all the evening, the tall monk
and the demure sister of charity? Probably she thinks it's her duty to
confess to him for her worldly dissipation. The sister of charity looks
like Marjorie Remington, but who can the monk be? Marjorie doesn't
generally remain so faithful to one partner," said Sallie.

"It is Marjorie," said Jean; "I can tell her walk anywhere and I'm sure
those are her pumps. She told me she bought them in Detroit this last
vacation. I'm sure I can't imagine who her partner is. The tallest girl
I know is Mary Stickney. It must be she, but isn't it queer Marjorie
should care to dance so often with her? Probably she thinks it's more
picturesque to dance with a monk. I remember asking Mary this afternoon
if she was going to-night and she said she didn't believe so, but if
she did she'd have to get up something very simple at the last moment.
That monk's costume is surely the simplest one here."

After several of the girls had asked the charming sister of charity
to dance and she had shaken her pretty head and persisted in dancing
with the monk, all the others began to wonder a bit and talk among
themselves. "Who is the monk?" was on everybody's tongue, and it was
pretty generally conceded to be Mary Stickney.

Just before ten the monk and his fair partner slowly left the main
room for a lemonade table at the end of the hall. Most of the others
were dancing, but Jean, very tired with the excitement of the evening,
had slipped alone into a little cozy corner just beyond the lemonade
table. She did not intend to watch or to listen, but she could not
help herself. When the two dancers were left to themselves, she heard
Marjorie Remington say, "Hasn't it been splendid, Jack? Not a soul ever
would suspect, for you certainly took every precaution. But I think
you'd better go now, for it's almost time to unmask. Take off your
robe and mask in the outer hall and you'll find your cap and coat and
shoes in my suit-case there in the right-hand corner. You'll not meet
any one, for everybody in the house is at the dance and it's too late
for outsiders to be coming in. Still, be cautious. Let me know how you
get back to Cambridge, and come out as soon as you can. Good night,
dear. Don't let anything happen to you." And the black-robed priest
disappeared from view and the demure little sister of charity sat down
a few minutes in the dimly-lighted hall to rest.

Jean did not leave the cozy corner until she was sure Marjorie had
joined the dancers. She leaned back against the pillows, faint with
astonishment and dismay. What should she do? One idea after another
rushed through her brain and confused her more and more. She must act
quickly, or it would be too late. Stealing into the outer hall she
found the black robe and mask Jack had left there and she put them on
over her Old Mother Hubbard costume. She knew she was not as tall as
Jack was, but still there was not such a great difference and it was
worth the risk. Slowly wending her way back into the main room, she
found the sister of charity just about to dance with a Little Boy Blue.
She put her arm round Marjorie and drew her away before Little Boy Blue
realized what was happening.

Marjorie herself was so astonished she could say nothing at first, but
after a moment whispered, "Jack, how careless; you must go. We're going
to unmask after this dance and if you're found here I'll be expelled
to-morrow." But the monk answered never a word, but danced as smoothly
and gently as though he had heard nothing. Again Marjorie whispered,
"Oh, Jack, you must go! Don't wait another minute or I'm lost."

Just then the music stopped and some one cried, "Masks off!" and there
was a general pulling off of masks amid peals of laughter. As Marjorie
gazed into Jean's face a look of terror settled over her own as she
gasped "You!" but Jean said quietly, "We'll talk about it later up in
your room. Don't leave until the others do," and she hurried away.
There were many surprises at the unmasking, but the greatest was
Jean's. Several of the girls, among them Elizabeth and Sallie, declared
they had recognized her earlier in the evening in another costume,
but she refused to answer except as she whispered in Elizabeth's ear,
"Don't ask too many questions. Trust me; it's all right."

Then the refreshments were served and still there was time for a few
more dances. Jean went to the piano and offered to play so that the
pianist might dance a little. Really, Jean needed to think and be away
from the girls. She hardly knew what she was playing, so absorbed was
she with the thought of what Marjorie had done and what she as proctor
of fourth floor must do before very long. Such a thing could not be
passed by unnoticed, and still what a terrible thing it would be to
have Marjorie expelled through her. She had heard of people sacrificing
duty for friendship, and she wondered what she would do when it came
time to decide. Once the room seemed to grow black and she thought she
would fall off the stool, but by a supreme effort she shook off the
approaching faintness and finished the waltz she was playing. Then she
arose and left the piano and walked over to Mrs. Thompson. "I think I
will be excused, if you please, Mrs. Thompson. I feel a little tired.
It's been a splendid party. Good night."

Elizabeth was watching her and noticed her pallor and swaying body.
"What is the matter, Jean? What has happened? This isn't a bit like
you. Can I help you?"

"No, Elizabeth; I shall be all right as soon as I get upstairs. Please
don't leave until the others do." Then she crept up the stairs and
when she entered her own room she closed the door and locked it. She
quickly tore off the two costumes, leaving the black one on the couch
where Elizabeth would be sure to see it; then she threw the Old Mother
Hubbard dress into a trunk which was in her closet, closed the lid, and
locked it. Putting on her kimona she sat down to think and wait for the
girls to come upstairs.

When Elizabeth entered the room, Jean was more like herself and talked
gayly about the girls' costumes. "I'll go out in the corridor and put
out the lights, and I've got a message to deliver to one of the girls,
so don't wait up for me." She put out all the lights on fourth floor
and then walked slowly up and down the corridor three or four times
before knocking softly at Marjorie's door. Without waiting for her to
reply, Jean entered the room and closed the door gently after her.

"Marjorie, remember I come here to-night as proctor as well as friend.
What you have done is awful. I can hardly think about it calmly. How
did you dare think of such a thing? You've broken every rule of our
house, you've deceived every girl here and Mrs. Thompson as well,
you've committed an offense worthy of expulsion, you've disgraced
yourself and all the rest of us. Now what's to be done? I'm the only
girl who knows what has happened, although others were mystified at
my being the monk and the Mother Hubbard, too. That will be forgotten
in a day or two, but what you have done is of more serious import.
You wonder why I dressed up in Jack's costume? I was tired of dancing
and went out into the cozy corner beyond the lemonade table to rest a
little. Before I had been there long you and Jack came and I could not
help overhearing your conversation. After he had gone I knew you would
go back to the other rooms alone and every one would wonder where your
constant attendant had gone. Questions would be asked and you would
have to give some sort of an explanation. The idea came to me to put
on Jack's costume for the remainder of the evening and save you from a
difficult position. Now I have given you an explanation of my conduct
and I ask for one of yours."

"There isn't one, Jean; except that when I told Jack about the party
he suggested that he come out, too, dressed as a monk. He planned
everything so well that I thought there was no danger and it was a
lark. I was tired of dancing with girls and I longed for a dance with a
real man, and you know Jack dances divinely. I guess Ashton is no place
for me, after all, and you might as well have it out to-morrow and get
me expelled. I don't mind leaving college, but I hate to go home and
have Jack so far away. It's a long time till June, and I'll be awfully
lonesome out there without him."

"No, Marjorie; I don't want you publicly expelled. I'm sorrier for
you than I've ever been for any one in all my life. I wish I were not
proctor to-night, and I'd say nothing about it. As it is I shall not
report you unless you refuse to comply with my plans. You are to leave
college to-morrow. You'll say you were called home unexpectedly. I'll
leave the reason to you, but I must see you on the train for Detroit
and see the telegram you send home to your father to meet you. Jack is
to know nothing about it until you write him from Detroit. You can pack
what clothes you need and I will see that the other things are sent on
at your request. You say that you never have cared for college, but
I am sure you prefer to leave it honorably rather than in disgrace.
Will you think it over to-night and let me know your decision in the
morning? If you do not come down to breakfast I shall know you have
decided to do as I suggest, and I promise you, under those conditions
I shall never say a word to any one about the affair. I hope you'll do
the right thing. Good night."

Before noon the next day all Merton was talking about Marjorie
Remington's sudden call home. Lill Spalding and Jean helped her pack
and went in town with her to see her take the late afternoon train for
Detroit. At night the excitement had somewhat subsided, for Marjorie's
friends had been few and the others were little concerned with her
affairs. There were much more serious matters pending, for midyear's
examinations were only three weeks away and the midnight oil was
already beginning to be burned.



                              CHAPTER XI

                               MIDYEAR'S


The next three weeks the girls in Merton did study, as did most of
the other girls. All the classes were having reviews and the whole
college had settled down to good hard work. Social life had practically
stopped, except for an occasional spread or tea, and society meetings
on Monday nights were about the only diversions. When she felt she
could afford the time Jean had gone to basket-ball practice, for
she secretly longed to make the freshman team, but openly she said
nothing about it. She knew everything depended upon the midyear marks,
and although there had been a decided improvement in her work since
Thanksgiving, still she knew it looked a little doubtful in French and
German. However, she was confident that by June she would be doing at
least passing work.

About a week before the examinations began, Jean went over to
Wellington one evening to study psychology with Lois Underwood, who
was in her division. As it happened, several of the Wellington girls
were in the same division and Lois called them in to the "quiz," as
she called their evening's work. The girls really worked hard until
about nine o'clock and had covered considerable ground when they began
talking about hypnotism, a favorite subject of Miss Washburn, the
psychology instructor.

"I think Miss Washburn's positively daffy on the subject," said Jean;
"I don't believe there's anything in it at all. She'll be sure, though,
to ask us something about it in the exam. I suppose if we want to pass
the course we'll have to agree with her whether we believe in it or
not."

"But I do believe in it," said Lois Underwood. "Bess and I have been
reading up a lot on the subject and we have been experimenting on each
other and find we can do lots of the things the books tell about. It's
easy enough if you just make up your mind to it."

The other girls laughed and scoffed at this, and declared Bess and Lois
were getting daffy over the subject, too.

"Well, all right, girls," said Lois, "if you don't believe it, I'll let
Bess hypnotize me. You've all got to keep perfectly quiet and not laugh
if she doesn't succeed at first, for we can't always tell what will be
the result."

"As I said before," Jean replied, "I don't believe there's anything in
it, but I'm perfectly willing to be convinced."

The girls shut their books and awaited the exhibition. Bess Johnson
arose from her chair and looked steadily into Lois Underwood's eyes as
she sat upright on her couch. "Put your mind upon sleep, Lois; sweet,
gentle sleep. You're going to sleep for a little while." She stepped up
close to her and began rubbing her forehead and temples, saying all the
time, "You're beginning to feel sleepy, you know you will sleep, you
can't help it. Now you're asleep, asleep, asleep." And at these words
Lois fell over on the couch in a deep sleep.

"Now, ladies and gentlemen, our fair victim is peacefully sleeping, and
those of you who doubt the fact are at liberty to examine the sleeping
beauty as carefully as you please. As a first test I will prick her arm
with this needle and if she does not move or cry out you may draw your
own conclusions."

She pricked her arm with the needle, but not a movement was made or a
sound heard and the girls looked at each other in astonishment. They
spoke to her and shook her and pinched her and pulled her hair, but it
was in vain, there was no evidence of life. "It is wonderful," said
Jean; "I am forced to admit that there's something in it after all.
Does every one else believe?" The rest of the girls declared they did,
and then Jean suggested that Bess awaken her.

"Very well, girls; it's perfectly simple," and she went up to the couch
and began rubbing Lois's forehead and temples, saying firmly, "You are
about to awaken, fair one; open thine eyes. Now you are awaking, you
know you cannot help it. You are coming to life again, awaken." But
Lois did not seem to open her eyes and did not move. She lay as rigid
as when she first went into the sleep. Bess worked over her as hard as
she knew how, but could not awaken her. Again and again she shook her
until it seemed as though she must open her eyes if there was any life
in her.

"Oh, girls, what shall I do? I can't get her to wake up. It's never
been like this before. Suppose she never comes out of it. I'll be a
murderer. Oh, I promise you if she ever does wake up that I'll never
try to hypnotize any one again!"

"Hadn't we better call in the doctor or some of the older girls?" said
Jean.

"No, not yet; I'm afraid to. What would they say to me? And if I put
her to sleep, I'm the only one that can awaken her. Don't you know
that other people have no influence over them?" and she began again to
work over her. It was no use, and now the other girls began to get as
frightened as Bess, but there seemed nothing to do but to wait.

At last the 9.45 warning bell rang and the girls knew they must leave,
especially those who lived in other houses. With tears in her eyes Bess
said good-night to the girls and begged them to say nothing about the
matter, assuring them that she knew in time she could awaken Lois.
After the door closed on the last girl, Bess returned to the sleeping
girl on the couch. She was breathing deeply and so Bess did not despair
of her life. She sat beside her and called and called to her to awaken.
The moments flew by and the terrified girl felt that she must control
herself before she could hope to control another. She must make a
supreme effort to undo the harm she had done. She left the couch and
walked slowly up and down the room, saying to herself, "Be calm; it
must come out all right; she will awaken."

After perhaps half an hour she sat down again on the couch and looked
Lois hard in the face. Then she rubbed her forehead and temples exactly
as she had done when she sent her into the stupor, and almost screamed,
"You must awaken; you must awaken, Lois, or I shall go mad." There was
not a sign of awakening, and heartsick and discouraged Bess sank upon
her knees almost exhausted. She prayed softly to her Father in Heaven
for help in this awful moment, and then for the last time whispered,
"Oh, Lois, Lois, awaken!" and she saw her eyelids begin to move very
slightly and then gradually open. "Oh, Lois, you're really awake again;
you're awake again. I'm so thankful!"

"'Thankful,' Bess, why, what do you mean? What are you doing on your
knees by my couch?"

"Nothing, Lois, except praying that you'd wake up. Don't you remember
anything about to-night?"

"No; all I know is that I'm very, very tired and I feel as though I
could sleep a week. What happened?"

"Why, to-night to prove to the girls that there was such a thing as
hypnotism, I put you to sleep and I couldn't make you wake up. I've
been frightened almost to death ever since and I'll never, never try
to hypnotize anybody again as long as I live. I wish I'd never heard
anything about the subject. But you're all right now, and that's all I
care about. I've had the most awful experience of my life. Look and see
if my hair has turned white. We'd better go to bed now, but I must let
the other girls know the first thing in the morning, for they were all
as frightened as I."

When the psychology class met next morning it was a pretty sober little
group that had studied together the night before, and two of them, at
least, were a trifle pale. Miss Washburn could not understand what had
fallen over the class, for it was generally very lively and at times
troublesome. As luck would have it, after she had finished her lecture
she called on Bess Johnson to talk on the subject of hypnotism. To the
astonishment of the class (excepting, of course, her companions of the
night before), who were accustomed to Bess' brilliant recitations, they
heard her say, "I know nothing about it," and she turned as pale as
though she had seen her father's ghost, and the question was passed on
to Gertrude Jackson, next on the list, who discussed it at some length,
until the bell rang and the class was dismissed.

From psychology Jean went into her English class and took her usual
seat in the extreme left-hand corner near the open door. It was theme
day, and Miss Whiting was to read some examples of what she considered
good and bad themes. Jean listened in vain for one of hers among the
good ones, for she had tried hard and was beginning to enjoy her
English work. But among the themes Miss Whiting considered poor because
of their faulty construction and poor English she recognized two of
her recent attempts. She was hurt, and the tears sprang to her eyes to
think of Miss Whiting's reading two of her themes before the entire
class, as though one wouldn't have been enough! Of course everybody
would know they were hers, although she overlooked the fact that no
names were mentioned with the criticisms. She felt her face turning
scarlet and tears rolling down her cheeks. She couldn't stay there to
hear more of her awful themes read and she didn't dare ask Miss Whiting
to be excused. She gave one glance at the open door and her mind was
made up. Knowing Miss Whiting was very near-sighted, she stole very
quietly out of the room before Miss Whiting or hardly any of the girls
were aware of it.

No sooner out than she regretted her childish action and she wished she
were back in the room. She wandered over to the library, determined
to wait until the recitation was over and then go to Miss Whiting and
apologize. After the class was dismissed and just as Miss Whiting was
gathering up the papers on her desk, Jean walked up to her, smiling
sweetly. "I've come to offer you an apology, Miss Whiting. I purposely
left your class last hour in the midst of your reading. I felt so
badly when you read two of my miserable little themes that I thought I
couldn't stand it a moment longer, and as my seat is near the door I
took French leave when you were not looking in my direction. It was a
very silly thing to do, and I realized it the moment I was out of the
room. I'm very sorry and hope you will accept my apology."

"Why, certainly, Miss Cabot. How very thoughtful of you to come and
tell me, for unless you had I should have known nothing about it. Let
us sit down a moment and talk over your work. This will be a good time
for conference, if you can spare the time."

"Yes, indeed," said Jean, as she sat down in the chair beside Miss
Whiting.

"Let me see, Miss Cabot, do you care for the subject of English? It
seems to me I had got the impression that you did not. Just lately,
though, I have noticed a slight change for the better, in your theme
work. You seem to be grasping things as though you wouldn't let go.
I hope you won't. Things about you are beginning to interest you,
and you're describing them excellently. However, your constructions
are faulty, but that is a common fault in freshman work, and I read
your theme because it furnished criticism applicable to so many other
papers. You must not take criticism so to heart, for it is given always
with the hope of helping others. I thank you again for coming to tell
me what you did. Shall we walk down together? I go as far as Miss
Thatcher's."

When Jean entered the dining-room one of the freshmen called out, "Were
you ill in English, Jean?"

"Yes, temporarily indisposed, but I'm better now, thank you," and
smiling, she took her seat.

When the examination lists were posted, Jean found she had psychology
and German on Tuesday, French and English on Wednesday, and music on
Thursday. Each examination was to last from two to three hours and was
to cover all the work of the first semester. The only one she did not
dread was music, and she trembled most at thought of French and German.

Monday she crammed and crammed on her German verbs and vocabularies,
and at supper declared she would not take another look at them, for she
had planned to spend the entire evening reading over psychology notes.
When Elizabeth came upstairs after supper, she said she was going
to spend the night in Mabel Livingston's room, so they could study
mathematics together. Mabel's room-mate was away from college that
night, so Elizabeth could have her bed. She collected her books and
kissed Jean good-night, warning her not to sit up all night to study.

"After you go, Elizabeth, I'm going to lock the door and I won't open
it if people knock all night," she called out to Elizabeth as she left
the room. She propped herself up on the couch and drew up the table
with her drop-light upon it, and opened her psychology note-book to
begin reading her notes. How small her writing looked and how many
pages there were to be read! Soon the lines and words began to run
together, and all unbeknown to her the note-book slipped to the floor
but landed so softly that she did not hear it at all.

The next thing she knew she was sitting up on the couch staring first
at the burning light on the table and then at the bright sunshine
pouring into the window and then at the open note-book on the floor,
and finally at herself fully clothed as though ready for recitation.
She looked at her watch and found it had stopped, but she listened for
sounds around her and she heard girls talking and walking about as
though it were the middle of the day. "What has happened?" she asked
herself. "Am I another Rip Van Winkle?" She jumped up, unlocked the
door and ran into the next room. "What time is it, Ann?" she asked.

"Ten minutes past eight, Jean. Where were you at breakfast?"

"Well, if this isn't the greatest joke you ever heard about. I haven't
had any breakfast. I lay down on my couch last night right after supper
to study for my psychology exam and the next thing I know it's ten
minutes past eight and I've been asleep all that time and haven't done
a bit of studying. I've had these clothes on since yesterday morning
and haven't combed my hair yet, but I've got to go to Chapel, for I
don't dare cut and my exam comes the first thing afterward, and I
haven't looked at it. What shall I do? If she'll only ask me something
I know, which is little enough, I admit, I'm saved. Seems to me I
dreamed she asked us to write fully on the subject of memory and give
illustrations. I'll just look over the headings on that subject,"
and she sat down where she was and opened her note-book and read
strenuously until the chapel bell rang.

She smiled to herself as she walked into Miss Washburn's room and saw
the blue books on the desks. "To think I've studied just ten minutes
for a three-hour exam!" she said to herself. But when she took up the
printed list of questions and read the very first, "Outline, develop
fully, and give illustrations of the subject of memory," she smiled
still more and said, "Well, if I hadn't fallen asleep just when I did,
I'd never have dreamed we'd have that question. As it is, I'm all
prepared and it's the only thing I know anything about," and she wrote
over two hours and felt confident that she had passed in a good paper.

The German examination which followed was much harder, and it seemed
as though every time she tried to think of the parts of an irregular
German verb the corresponding French word popped into her head. Right
ahead of her sat Anne Cockran, writing away at such a rapid rate that
Jean felt sure she knew the correct answer to every question and she
wished once or twice that she could get a glimpse of her paper. Once
she leaned forward a little and as she did so her glance fell on Olive
Windman, who was sitting a little ahead of her to the right. Jean saw
her take a little paper covered with very fine writing from the front
of her shirt-waist and conceal it in her lap. She looked quickly at
Fräulein Weimer, but found her busy correcting notebooks; then she
looked down at the paper in her lap and began writing again. It was
the first time that Jean had seen open cheating, although she knew it
occurred again and again. The very idea of looking at Anne Cockran's
paper faded as quickly from her mind as it had entered it, and she
blushed at the thought of what she might have done.

At the end of the examination, Fräulein Weimer announced that she had
reason to suspect certain members of the class of dishonesty, and all
those who had given or taken help in any way during the examination
might not pass in their examination books. How thankful Jean was that
the number did not include herself, and she was shocked as she laid
down her examination book on the table to find that it rested on one
marked "Olive Windman."

The French examination next day was hard from beginning to end, and
although she did her very best she felt she had failed. English was
easy, and she finished in less than two hours. Her music examination
took most of Thursday afternoon, for part of it was on the piano and
the rest on harmony. When she had written the last note and signed her
name she breathed several deep sighs of relief and started for the gym.

There were two whole days of vacation for her, for she had no more
examinations and she meant to put most of her time into basket-ball
practice, as the list of freshman candidates was to be posted the next
Monday, and she hoped against hope to see her name among them.

Monday was registration day for the second half-year, and every one
reported at the office at the appointed time to find her marks and the
number of hours she would be allowed to take second half. When Jean
received her notification she found she had passed in everything but
her French and she was requested to see Mlle. Franchant at once. With
fear and trembling she approached her room, for she felt she was about
to be told that she must drop French for the rest of the year. She
peeped into the room and saw there were no other students there, so
then she walked up to Mlle. Franchant's desk, where she sat writing a
letter.

"Come right in, Mlle. Cabot. I want to speak to you just one moment.
I had to report a failure in your French work first semester, but it
is not so bad a one that you must drop the subject. You have improved
since I warned you and I think with good hard work you will pass at the
June examination. If I can help you in any way I shall be glad to do
so."

"Thank you," said Jean, and she left the room saying to herself, "Well,
I've lost my chance at basket-ball, but I'll pass that subject in June
or know the reason why."



                              CHAPTER XII

                  BEFORE THE FRESHMAN-SOPHOMORE GAME


After dinner, Peggy Allison seized Jean by the arm and insisted that
they go up on the hill to see if the lists of basket-ball candidates
were posted. Jean knew in her heart that her name would not be among
them, for the one fast rule of Ashton was that no girl was considered
eligible for athletic contests unless her work was satisfactory in
every department. For a moment she wanted to refuse Peggy, but she felt
she must know about her disappointment sooner or later, and she might
as well tell her now. So they walked slowly over to the gym and Peggy
found Jean very quiet.

"What's the matter, Jean? What's troubling you?"

"Nothing, except I'm awfully disgusted with myself and you will be,
too, for you aren't going to find my name among the basket-ball
candidates. I didn't pass in my French, so of course I can't play. I
knew all along it was going to be a toss-up whether I'd get through or
not, but I hoped that lately I'd done well enough to make up for my
poor beginning. However, I've made up my mind to one thing, and that is
if I can't try for the basket-ball team I'll do something here before I
leave."

"That's the proper spirit, Jean. I'm awfully sorry about your French,
but every one admits that Mlle. Franchant is the hardest marker in
college and flunks more freshmen than all the other profs together. But
there's tennis left for you in the spring and the big tournament in
June. Why don't you try to take the championship away from Natalie?"

"Oh, I couldn't beat her, but I'll go into the tournament if my French
is all right. I'll study it morning, noon, and night and I'll pass
it, too, for I've made up my mind. I'm not going over to basket-ball
practice any more. Not that I'm grouchy because I can't play, but
I'm going to put that time into studying. I'll be the very greasiest
grind you ever saw, with a towel around my throbbing head as I burn
the midnight oil night after night and drive my little room-mate to
distraction. Speaking of Elizabeth, do you know, she's doing splendid
work in oratory. In class last week she astonished every one. She gave
that little poem 'Carcasson,' and when she had finished, Miss Moulton
said, 'Excellent, Miss Fairfax, I'm going to ask you to give that to us
again next week; it's something for us to anticipate.' And Elizabeth
told me afterward that when class was dismissed that day 'Moultie'
stopped her and congratulated her and told her she hoped she would
enter prize speaking. Elizabeth said that she shouldn't think of such
a thing, for in the first place she would never dare to get up in the
chapel before every one, and in the second place she hadn't the time to
put into it. But later on I'm going to try to persuade her to enter,
and I think she will."

"I hope she will, Jean. Look at those girls around the bulletin board.
We'll never get within a mile of it."

"Oh, yes, we will, Peg; wait a minute," and before they realized it
both girls were gazing at the long list of names. There were two
Merton House girls among them, Anne Cockran for the freshmen, and
Sallie Lawrence for the sophomores, and as Jean saw their names she hid
her own disappointment by saying gayly, "Oh, isn't it splendid that
there are two Merton girls? I hope they'll make the teams. Won't it be
exciting to have the two rivals in the house before the game?"

"Oh, Jean, you'll find excitement enough before the game and after it,
too, for from now on there'll be plenty of spirit between you freshies
and the sophs. Be on the watch, for you never can tell what the sophs
will do next. You must be particularly careful about your flags and
the class banquet, for those are the really great tests of strength
or weakness of the freshmen class. Who's your chairman of the flag
committee?"

"Florence Cummings, over in North, and I'm fortunate or unfortunate
enough, whichever you consider it, to be on the committee with four
others. We haven't met yet, but I think there's a meeting next week."

"Well, it's a mighty hard committee to serve on, and I don't envy you
one bit. I hope you'll come out all right and win and float your flags,
but make up your mind for some excitement." The two girls spent the
rest of the afternoon walking over to Lookout Hill and the conversation
changed from basket-ball and class rivalry to everything imaginable
which could interest two such wide-awake college girls.

Classes settled down again after the excitement of midyear's, and if
there were heartaches and bitter disappointments most of them were
covered up with good resolutions and hard work. The girls who had
failed and were obliged to return home were missed for a little and
then forgotten. The seniors were realizing that it was their last
half-year and were crowding as much as possible into it; the juniors
seemed to be devoting themselves to social activities; and the lower
classes were developing class spirit and two rival basket-ball teams.

It had been a custom from time immemorial at Ashton to have an annual
basket-ball game between the freshmen and sophomores to decide which
class might carry its flags for the rest of the year at all college
events. If the freshmen were defeated in the game they gave up their
flags to the sophomores, and if the sophomores were defeated they gave
their flags to the freshmen. For several days before the game, and
especially the one immediately preceding, each class strove to have one
of its flags in some conspicuous place where it could remain without
being hauled down by the rival class. It always took carefully laid
plans on the part of the freshmen, and great precaution in executing
them to outwit the wily sophs, and few freshmen classes could boast
among their victories the successful raising of their flag. Then after
the basket-ball game, as soon as possible, the freshman class held a
banquet, either to celebrate its victory or find consolation in its
defeat. If the sophomores could prevent the banquet from taking place,
all the more glory for them, and they watched and plotted and made life
miserable for the anxious freshmen.

Classes come and classes go, but customs live on forever, and 1914 and
1915 were no exceptions to the rule and had made great preparations
for the fray. Jean Cabot and the other members of the flag committee
held secret meetings for days and days at Edith McAllister's house.
When Edith came to Ashton, her mother, being the only other member of
her family, had come with her and hired a small house in the shadow
of the college where the two lived happily together. Mrs. McAllister
had a sewing machine and could help the girls with their sewing. They
had over a hundred and fifty small flags to make in order that every
girl in the class might have one to carry to the game, besides several
large ones to display in the gymnasium. The college color was blue, and
1915 had chosen white as its class color, so the numerals, 1915, were
to be of white and sewed on the blue background. The flags were made
of cheese-cloth and had to be cut out and hemmed and then the numerals
were to be stitched on. Only a few of the girls knew how to run a
sewing machine, so it took some time to get them done.

But at last they were finished and the next thing was to know
what to do with them, for if one of the sophs scented them out and
captured them they were lost forever and the freshmen disgraced.
Finally it was decided to lock them in a small trunk which belonged
to Mrs. McAllister, and the trunk was to be placed in the attic and
the door locked and the two keys put on a ribbon and worn round Mrs.
McAllister's neck night and day. The one flag which the freshmen
hoped to fly before the game was entrusted to the chairman, Florence
Cummings, who sewed it on to her petticoat the day she carried it to
her dormitory. All the other flags, however, were to remain in their
hiding-place until the day of the game.

Each dormitory had girls from both classes to act as spies and watch
all proceedings and report suspicious actions to a general committee.
Jean was chosen from the freshman class in Merton and found her hands
full. On the day before the game, very early in the morning, it was
whispered around the Hill that the sophomore flag was flying in the
middle of the "Pond," as the girls called the small open reservoir,
just back of the college buildings, which supplied a neighboring city
with water. It did not take long for the rumors to be verified, and in
a few moments nearly every girl in college had been to the "Pond" to
see the small blue and orange flag floating in the water. There was
much speculation as to how it could have been placed there, for the
water, which was some ten feet below the surface of the ground, was
held in by solid walls of masonry which seemed impossible to scale. But
there was the flag, holding its head as high as any of the sophs who
said nothing, but went about their recitations with a satisfied smile
upon their faces which seemed to say, "You see our flag; well, get it
if you can."

The freshmen said nothing, but one could see disappointment on every
face. The flag committee held an animated session at Mrs. McAllister's
and then started out to work. Not a sign of a freshman flag all day
long and apparently there was to be no attempt to remove the sophomore
one, for to the casual observer that seemed impossible. There was
not a boat nor a ladder, nor a rope anywhere in evidence around the
"Pond," and the grumbly old watchman sat in his little box of a house
at the northwest corner placidly smoking his pipe as though nothing
had happened, all the while refusing to offer any suggestions to the
numberless inquiries which poured in upon him. At nightfall the flag
was still where it had been all day and the lofty sophs felt the
victory was theirs, for the freshmen, to all appearances, had given
up the attempt to capture it. There was tense excitement in all the
dormitories during supper and the early hours of the evening, but it
seemed to subside a little as bedtime approached.

As Elizabeth and Jean turned out their lights and crept into bed,
Elizabeth said, "Isn't it a shame, Jean, to be defeated at the very
outset? It looks bad for the game in spite of all belief in signs. They
say the even-year classes never are lucky, you know. Aren't you tired
after such a strenuous day? I for one will be glad when the suspense is
all over and the game is won or lost. You'll be worn to a thread if
you do much more running around."

"Yes, I am tired, Beth; but it's worth while working for the class.
Luck does seem against us now, but don't give up yet; there's plenty of
time for things to happen. Good night," and Jean turned on her pillow
as though to sleep.

Shortly after twelve o'clock, if one had been looking she might have
seen girls hurrying from the different dormitories in the direction of
Mrs. McAllister's house. On the small porch stood Edith and her mother
ready to welcome the girls. "Come into the house and drink some hot
coffee before we start, for it's bitter cold in spite of the fact that
it's March. What time do you expect your man?"

The girls were so excited that they declared they did not want the
coffee, but preferred to wait on the porch for the arrival of the
automobile which was to bring Mr. Doherty, professional swimmer and
diver.

"He promised to be here at quarter-past twelve," said Florence
Cummings, "but I'm sure it's that now. What if he shouldn't come after
all, and spoil our plans? I wish I'd offered him more money, but he
seemed perfectly satisfied with my proposition. I think I'd almost be
tempted to jump in myself if he didn't come. I don't just like the idea
of an ice-cold bath, but I could do the swim all right. Are the ladder
and rope here? Joe said he would bring them down after ten."

"Yes," said Edith, "they're in the cellar with the lantern. Isn't it
fortunate that there isn't a moon? It's dark as a pocket, so no one can
see us. I can hear an automobile now. It must be the Hon. Mr. Doherty."

In a moment a small roadster drew up in front of the porch and a
stalwart youth alighted and approached the group. Florence Cummings
greeted him with, "Good evening, is this Mr. Doherty? It's so dark I
can hardly see you, but I'm Miss Cummings who interviewed you this
afternoon."

"Yes, Miss Cummings, it's me."

"I was beginning to fear you weren't coming. You see it's very
important work you have to do for us to-night and I think we'd better
begin at once. Everything is ready and we will do exactly as you
suggested this afternoon."

"Yes, mum. I'm sorry to be late, but my auto broke down just after I
was leavin' Boston and it took me some time to fix it, but I'm ready
now."

And then the little procession started, Mr. Doherty carrying one end
of the long ladder and two of the girls helping on the other end. The
other girls followed in the rear with Mrs. McAllister to chaperon them.
They took a long roundabout way to avoid crossing the campus, and all
waited a moment at the foot of the hill while Jean hastened up to the
"Pond" to see if by any chance some of the sophs were on guard. Not
a trace could she find of a girl, so she ran back to the others who
anxiously awaited her. Then they all, silently and cautiously, followed
her up to the spot agreed upon for the work.

They had chosen the end of the reservoir farthest away from the
college, and Mr. Doherty let down the long ladder until it reached the
water. The heavy ropes which were tied securely around the ends of the
ladder he trailed along the ground and tied firmly around the base of
a tree which stood near by. Then taking off his overcoat and suit of
clothes which covered his woolen bathing suit, he crept down the ladder
and silently dropped into the water and swam toward the center of the
reservoir. It took him some time to locate the little flag and loose it
from its anchor, but finally it was done and he swam back and climbed
the ladder and dropped the flag into Florence Cummings' lap. Then he
drew up the ladder, untied the ropes, wrapped his fur coat around him
and they hurried back to Mrs. McAllister's where the swimmer took a
hot bath and a rub-down and drank what seemed to the girls gallons of
coffee. Then he jumped into his automobile and was off to the city.

It took the girls several moments to realize that what they had been
working for so hard really had been accomplished and the coveted
sophomore flag was here in their possession.

"Now what shall we do with it?" said Florence Cummings.

"I think the best place for it is in the trunk with the others," said
Jean, and the rest agreed. Thereupon Mrs. McAllister removed the keys
from her neck and Edith and Florence took two candles and went up to
the attic and placed the flag with the others, after which they came
downstairs for the last consultation of the flag committee. Although
they had captured the sophomore flag they had not yet displayed their
own, and to be effective it must be in evidence on the following
morning and there remained but a few hours before sunrise. It was
finally decided to fly it from the top of one of the dormitories.
It would look like a tiny speck at such a height, but it would be
beyond the reach of the enemy if carefully guarded until noon, when
hostilities were to stop until the game itself. To make everything
fair, lots were to be drawn and the girl drawing the piece of paper
marked "3" was to have the honor of flying the flag from her dormitory.
Mrs. McAllister cut the pieces of paper and marked them and then held
them out to the girls. "Come, draw quickly, girls," and she approached
Jean, who stood nearest her. Without hesitation Jean drew the paper
nearest her and after one look waved the tiny white paper over her
head, crying, "The die is cast! That flag shall fly from Merton or
I'll die in the attempt. Come, fellow-conspirators, let us away that
I may begin this bloody business," and the girls started back to the
dormitories, Mrs. McAllister and Edith accompanying each one to the
doors of the dormitories, where accomplices from within awaited their
arrival.

Anne Cockran had been chosen to guard Merton and she fairly pulled Jean
into the reading-room to hear about the night's adventure. "No, not
to-night, Anne, we've too much to do; we got the flag all right but
now you've got to help me fly our flag from Merton. Don't ask me any
questions, just do as I say and I'll tell you the rest in the morning.
Get some sweaters and heavy coats and meet me at the roof-stairway as
soon as you can."

Each girl went silently to her room and collected as much heavy
clothing as she could find and met as agreed upon at the stairway on
the fifth floor which led to the flat roof above. "Now," said Jean, "I
mean to go up on the roof and nail this flag to this flag-stick and
tie it to the front projection of the roof where it can be seen by
every one on the Row. After I have fastened it securely I shall come
down to the stairs and lock the door with the key inside. I shall put
these pillows and sweaters and coats on the stairs and make myself as
comfortable as possible and stay there until twelve o'clock, so that
our flag may be safe. When I want a little air I can go up on the roof
or just keep the door open a bit. I've got plenty of crackers, so I
won't starve. It's lucky to-morrow is a holiday, for I won't be cutting
and no one can say I am breaking rules. It's only a few hours now till
breakfast, so I must get a little sleep and you, too, Anne, or you'll
be in no condition for the game. I'm all right; don't worry about me;
1915 will fly its flag, even if we are beaten at the game. We've broken
one tradition and perhaps we can the others," and Jean, shut the little
door, locked it and went up on the roof to execute her plans.

She had a little electric light which she flashed every now and
then to guide her over the flat pebbly roof until she found the
corner projection. She nailed the flag to the flag-stick and tied it
securely to the iron cornice. Her fingers seemed almost frozen when
she finished, but her heart beat wildly as she thought that for the
first time she was really doing something worth while for 1915. If she
couldn't play basket-ball she could do this much, which was a victory,
too, though in a smaller way. She got back to the stairway and settled
down on her improvised couch, but, try as she might, sleep would not
come. It seemed ages to her before the breakfast bell rang and then to
satisfy her nervous hunger she munched some hard, dry crackers. She
knew now that in a few moments the loss of the sophomore flag would be
discovered and the freshman flag flying from Merton would enrage every
Ashton sophomore and bring joy to the hearts of the freshmen.

Suddenly, it seemed to grow close on the stairs and Jean opened the
upper door and breathed in the cool morning air which refreshed her.
One look at the flag assured her that it was safe and still waved
proudly in the breeze. She gazed out over the college and admitted to
herself that she was beginning to love it all, and was so glad that she
was a part of it, even though only a very small, insignificant part.
With the fresh air and renewed courage she went back to the stairs and
waited. She heard the girls go up and down the corridors and she longed
to ask them about the flag, but remained perfectly quiet.

Presently she heard the sound of whispers and stealthy footsteps
outside the door and then some one tried the knob. They evidently
expected to find the door locked, for they shook and twisted the knob
and rattled the door as if they meant to do business. She heard one
girl say, "It's no use; the key's in the lock and we can do nothing
unless we break the lock. Now's our only chance while the freshies
are at mass meeting. Couldn't we get some tools somewhere? What do
burglars generally use, anyway, when they break open locks?"

"I don't know," some one answered, "but couldn't we get something sharp
and a screw-driver and then unfasten the screws and take off the lock
on this side and push the handle through, then perhaps we could push
the key out and pry open the lock. Let's go down into the basement and
see if we can beg, borrow, or steal some tools from Joe. We'll tell him
we want to fix our trunks. We must hurry, though, for those freshies
will be back here soon and on guard again," and they hurried down the
corridor.

Jean had listened to their plans with increasing fright. Suppose they
did break open the lock, what could she do then? They did not suspect
that she was there, and probably thought it would be smooth sailing
if they could but open the door. She went up on the roof to see if by
any chance she could find something to brace the door but all that
presented themselves to her eyes were two brooms which some careless
girl had left on the roof after sweeping her rugs, and an iron shovel
which had probably been used last to shovel a path through the snow
so that the maids could do their sweeping. Jean seized all three
implements of warfare and hurried back again to the stairs and braced
the shovel and then the brooms against the door. She knew the brooms
would not do much good but she had more faith in the shovel. If the
sophs were determined to get in at any costs, she would give them a
hard struggle.

Before long the sophomores returned and in addition to the tools,
she felt sure they had brought more girls to help out. There was a
scraping of a file and the turning of the screw-driver and Jean knew
they were working as hard and as fast as they could. She wondered how
near twelve o'clock it could be and if the mass meeting would ever be
over. If they would only hurry, for in a few moments it might be too
late! From the conversation outside the door the girls seemed confident
that they would succeed, and were glorying in their luck. Just then
Jean heard many footsteps on the stairs and a shout and as she listened
she heard a tremendous shout of, "Rah, Rah, Rah, Freshmen; Rah, Rah,
Rah, 1915; Rah, Rah, Rah, Jean Cabot; Rah, Rah, Rah, the flag," and she
recognized Elsie Gleason's voice saying, "Unlock the door, Jean; it's
twelve o'clock and we've won! We've come to thank you for what you've
done. Come out where we can see you." When Jean opened the door she
saw the hallway and the stairs filled with the freshmen, who sent up
cheer after cheer for what she had done, but there was not a trace of a
sophomore except the tools which they had dropped in their hasty flight.

All Jean could say was, "Thank you, girls. I've only done what all of
you would have done if you'd had the opportunity. I must go down now
and get ready for the game, and I'm hungry, too. Is lunch ready?"

Then the long procession turned and led Jean to her room, where it gave
one mighty last cheer and then dispersed, and Jean closed the door upon
them and sank down upon her couch and cried for real joy.



                             CHAPTER XIII

                               THE GAME


The game was scheduled to begin at three o'clock, but long before that
hour the great gymnasium was crowded with enthusiastic supporters of
the rival teams. The sophomores and seniors with their friends filled
the right side of the balcony, while the freshmen and juniors with
their friends were at the left. At one end of the floor was erected a
platform for the faculty, while on narrow benches on either side of the
floor the teams and officials were to sit. The gymnasium had been gayly
decorated with the blue and white of 1915 and the blue and orange of
1914; and huge banners were hung from the iron railing of the balcony.

As Jean was on the flag committee she stood at the door and helped
distribute flags to the freshmen. At last every one had been given out,
and she hurried to her seat. Elizabeth and she were both fortunate
enough to draw seats in the front row, not side by side, but only
separated by two other freshmen, Mary Boyce and Ruth Witham. As she
crowded her way down through the masses of girls she was stopped again
and again to be congratulated by those who had just heard of what she
had done.

"Why, Jean, who would have thought it of you?" said Peggy Allison as
Jean pushed by her. "It's lots better than making the team. Come down
to the Inn with me after the game. I want you to meet my cousin, Miss
Murray, from Radcliffe. I'm giving just a little supper for her, and it
will be grand to have such a heroine as you with us."

"Oh, nonsense, Peggy! I wish you wouldn't talk about it; it's nothing,
but I shall be awfully glad to go down to the Inn with you. I'm
starving already. You might introduce me to your cousin, though,
instead of taking it for granted that we know each other."

"Oh, I beg your pardon, Jean, but I'm so excited over what you've done
that I have forgotten everything else. Allow me to introduce you to
my cousin, Miss Janet Murray, Radcliffe 1914. Miss Murray, allow me to
introduce you to Miss Jean Cabot, Ashton 1915. There, is that perfectly
proper, Jean? Don't forget to meet us after the game."

"All right," said Jean, "and I'm very glad to have met you, Miss
Murray," and she finally reached her seat. No sooner had she sat down
than the class cheer leader arose and said, "Ready, girls; three long
cheers for Jean Cabot," and the gym resounded with the three long rahs
with Cabot at the end. Jean blushed a little and then began to look
about her, apparently unconscious of the sensation her appearance had
created. She thought she had never before seen anything as exciting as
the scene the gym presented now. There were rows upon rows of girls
with their bright-colored flags and streamers, their faces aglow with
excitement. Most of them were sitting down, but those not fortunate
enough to secure seats stood in the back rows and leaned this way and
that for a better view. It did not make much difference as long as
they were there. Down among the faculty there seemed to be as much
enthusiasm as in the balcony, only in a more subdued manner. Jean
looked at Miss Hooper to see if she wore the white carnations she
had sent to her that morning, and smiled to herself as she saw her
holding them in her hands and waving them every little while as she
recognized a freshman or upper-class girl in the balcony. Miss Emerson
had many carnations and daffodils, too, the flower that the sophomores
decided best matched their class color, and she noticed that almost
all the faculty wore or carried some flowers or ribbons to show their
preferences.

"Oh, Mary, isn't it wonderful?" said Jean, as she seized Mary Boyce's
hand, "and to think I might perhaps have played with them if I had only
studied harder. You better believe I'll study harder next--" but she
stopped, for the door of the dressing-room opened and the girls ran out
upon the floor.

"Why, Jean," said Ruth Witham, "what dandy suits the girls have. Are
they new?"

"Yes," said Jean, "it's a surprise. The girls made them all
themselves. Doesn't Anne Cockran look too sweet for anything? Isn't she
little? But she surely can make baskets if she ever gets half a chance."

Just then the freshmen broke into a round of cheers for the team and
every member on it, and in turn the sophomores gave their cheers. The
two teams practised a few minutes at both goals and promptly at three
o'clock Miss Matthews blew her whistle and the girls lined up ready for
play.

"Ready, sophs?" and Sallie Lawrence replied, "All ready."

"Ready, freshmen?" and Bess Johnson replied, "All ready."

The ball was tossed into the air, the whistle blown and the game was
on. "Good," said Jean; "they're off; keep your eye on Bess Johnson.
Isn't she tall? She ought to be able to put the ball right into the
basket by just reaching up her hands," and as she said this, Bess
Johnson, the freshman captain, with her superior reach touched the ball
first and sent it spinning toward the sophomore goal. Anne Cockran,
freshman forward, rushed in pursuit of the ball, but missed it and
a sophomore guard captured it and passing it quickly to the center
who, eluding her long-armed opponent, continued its course toward the
freshman goal by sending it into the arms of a waiting forward. Before
she could be covered, she tossed it up to the basket where for a moment
it poised upon the edge and then rolled in. A goal in less than two
minutes of play!

A deafening shout arose from the sophs, and not to be outdone the
freshmen followed suit, although Jean declared to the girls around her
that she didn't see anything to cheer for. "To keep up their courage,"
said Elizabeth. "Don't be discouraged, Jean; they've only begun
playing."

"That's all right, Beth, but I'm superstitious about some things, and
I firmly believe that the side which gets the first basket always wins
the game."

"Who told you that?" asked Ruth Witham.

"Nobody," replied Jean, "but I believe it, and you see how it works out
to-night."

Although the sophomores had got a basket so easily during the first
minutes, it was not so easy getting another. The freshmen did not
intend to allow them to continue gaining points, and settled down
to good steady playing. Both sides were pretty evenly matched, and
their passing and guarding were excellent. The sophomore team was a
little heavier than the freshman one, and perhaps lacked a little of
the agility of the lighter girls. The ball went back and forth over
the floor with an occasional attempt at a basket, until suddenly Anne
Cockran got the ball in her possession and turning quickly to measure
the distance to the basket, slipped and fell to the floor and for a
moment lay there perfectly still. "Time!" shouted Bess Johnson, the
freshman captain, and Miss Matthews blew her whistle. After the college
doctor examined Anne carefully he found that she had twisted her ankle,
and of course could not play the rest of the game. Very reluctantly
Anne left the floor amid a deafening cheer, and if one had been in the
gallery she might have heard many a freshman murmur to her neighbor,
"Oh, isn't it a shame! And she's our best player. We've lost now,
surely."

After the doctor had bound up Anne's ankle and wrapped her in a big
bath-robe, he carried her out to the players' bench, where she was to
watch the rest of the game, even if it broke her heart not to be out
on the floor playing. Bess Johnson called for "Phil" Woodworth to take
Anne's place, and the game was on again.

Quickly the ball was put into play and there was such rapid passing and
clever blocking on the part of each team that one seemed to have little
advantage over the other. The playing grew more furious, and several
times the referee had to interfere in order to put the ball back into
play. Finally, in one of these scrimmages almost under the sophomore
goal, the ball rolled out from under the feet of two struggling
contestants straight toward Phil Woodworth. Unguarded for the moment,
she sprang quickly forward, seized the ball and, in her slow, hesitant
manner aimed at the basket. The ball dropped into the basket, but not
a second too soon, for at that very moment the timer's whistle blew
for the end of the first half. There was a tense silence for a moment,
followed by tumultuous cheers by the freshmen as they realized that the
work of the substitute had tied the score.

"Oh, I'm so excited I can't sit here another second!" said Jean. "Let's
stand up a little while; my foot's asleep, I've kept it so long in one
position. I'd like to walk a little, but there's such a crowd I never
can get through it."

"Better not try, Jean," said Ruth, "there isn't time, anyway, and it's
fine to watch the crowd. Wasn't that splendid for Phil Woodworth?
After all, it does count to be a substitute. Her room-mate, Grace
Littlefield, told me just to-day that when the regular team was chosen
and Phil didn't make it she was so disappointed that she declared she'd
never play basket-ball again, and it took a lot of coaxing on the
part of the girls to get her to promise she'd be sub. Why, I'd give
everything I possess in the world to be down there playing, even as one
of the subs! Poor Anne! How do you suppose she feels?"

"Pretty sore, Ruth, and of course awfully disappointed, but she'll get
her numerals all right, won't she? She certainly deserves them," said
Mary Boyce.

"Oh, girls, look!" said Jean. "There's Miss Emerson and Miss Thurston
going over to speak to Anne. My! isn't that an honor! Think of Miss
Thurston condescending to console an insignificant freshman! Actually,
she is the coldest, most unsympathetic individual I ever ran up
against."

"Yes," said Elizabeth, "and she's just in the act of giving her some
flowers one of her fond admirers sent her, and Miss Emerson is sharing
her carnations, too. Doesn't she look dear in that new gray dress? I
think she's the sweetest college president that ever lived, and I wish
I could do something to have her give me even one little carnation, to
say nothing of a whole bunch of them. Doesn't a game like this just
make you want to do things for old Ashton? I'll be a loyal supporter
even if I can do nothing more."

"Oh, you'll do something, my fair Elizabeth," said Jean, "and before
very long, too. How much more time is there? I wish they'd begin. I
want somebody to do something. I hate a tie score."

"Here come the girls," said Mary, as the girls took their positions and
the whistle sounded; "now for some good fast playing."

With the changing of the goals, the tactics of the sophomore team
seemed to change, and their superior weight and greater experience
began to break down the freshman defense. They had quickly scored two
goals to the freshmen's one and added another point, when an excited
freshman, through too strenuous holding, committed a foul.

"Why don't they play more carefully?" said Jean. "They're just throwing
the game away." And as if to add strength to her remark, the referee at
that moment declared another foul and another point was added to the
sophomore total. "Oh, I don't want to see the rest of the game," wailed
Jean. "I can't see the sophs beat us so badly. Why can't our girls do
something?"

At the toss-off which followed, Bess Johnson gave a signal with her
left hand and instead of sending the ball towards the sophomore
goal she tossed it back into the hands of one of the guards, who,
in obedience to the signal, had rushed forward. Catching the ball
before it had touched the floor, she threw it accurately to a waiting
forward who, before the bewildered sophomores had recovered from this
unusual strategy, threw the ball into the basket. The score was now
8-4 in favor of the sophs. Encouraged by the success of this play, the
freshmen redoubled their efforts, but to little purpose, as they were
already beginning to show the effects of their strenuous play, so that
except for one point added to their score by a sophomore foul they
could do little more than successfully defend their goal.

The game was rapidly drawing to a close when the ball going out of
bounds was awarded to Bess Johnson to throw in. Closely guarded by the
waving arms of her opponent, she glanced quickly over the floor and
at that moment saw the agile form of Louise Harrison as, eluding her
opponent, she rushed down with arms outstretched to catch the ball.
With quick movement she threw it over the shoulder of her antagonist
toward the rapidly moving figure, who, though going at full speed,
caught it fairly. But she had not a moment to consider passing it to
another nearer the goal, as two sophs rushed towards her. The basket
seemed very far away indeed, but with quick concentration and taut
muscles she threw with all her might. It seemed an interminable moment
as the ball soared through the air, but at last with a little spiral
drop it settled into the waiting net.

[Illustration: WITH A QUICK MOVEMENT SHE THREW IT OVER THE SHOULDER OF
HER ANTAGONIST.--_Page 258_.]

Time was up, and the sophomores had won, but by the scantest of
margins, the final score being 8-7 in their favor. It took a moment
or two for the freshmen to recover from their defeat, and then they
cheered as lustily for the sophs as though it had been their own
victory. Then there was a wild rush for the gymnasium floor and
the balcony was emptied of all its occupants. The sophs formed a
procession, and some of the strongest girls carried their captain,
Sallie Lawrence, off the floor amid shouts and cheers, and the freshmen,
not to be outdone, seized Bess Johnson and followed suit.

When the teams came out of the dressing-rooms again the sophs sent up
a mighty shout. "The freshman flags, the freshman flags, we want the
freshman flags!" As they shouted, each girl seized the hand of the one
nearest her and they formed a circle round the gymnasium. When they
dissolved the circle some of the cheer-leaders erected from convenient
apparatus what most closely resembled a funeral pile in the center of
the floor, and then called for the freshmen to form a line. Sallie
Lawrence hastened to the piano and struck up the Funeral March and the
freshmen slowly approached the pile and each girl dropped her flag and
passed on out of the building.

"Well, I don't care a bit," said Jean to an animated group of freshmen
outside the gymnasium. "If they did win it was only by one point, and
our girls really did some wonderful playing. Why, that shot of Bess
Johnson's was worth the whole game. Isn't she a star?" Then looking
around her she whispered, "Now to get ready for our banquet; if we can
only succeed in that we won't mind losing the game."



                              CHAPTER XIV

                              THE BANQUET


The freshman banquet was always held as soon after the game as possible
in the hotel of some neighboring town, easy of access but out of the
reach of the sophs. It took a great deal of clever planning to escape
their vigilant watch, and many a time freshman classes never succeeded
in gathering at this festive occasion, but 1915 was a very energetic
class and determined at any cost to outwit their rivals. They agreed
among themselves that the banquet should be held the following Monday
evening at Langley Inn, Southtown, about twelve miles from Ashton, and
the girls were to assemble there before six o'clock. No two girls were
to be seen leaving the Hill at the same time, and they could take the
train, the electric cars or walk to near-by towns and leave from there.
Miss Hooper and Miss Moulton of the faculty were to chaperon them and
bring them back to college when the celebration was over.

A little after six o'clock on the evening agreed upon, Lois Underwood,
chairman of the banquet committee, walked through the reception-rooms
of the Langley Inn to assemble the girls into the dining-room. "Are we
all here, girls? I'll call the roll first and let every girl reply,
'Here,' as her name is called." It did not take long to discover
that Bess Johnson, basket-ball captain and star of the recent game,
Edith McCausland, class president, and Jean Cabot, heroine of the
flag-raising, were the only ones missing. "Who knows anything about
these girls?" asked Lois, anxiously. Instead of an individual answer,
there was a universal shout of "The sophs! They've captured them."

"Well," said Lois, "perhaps we had better wait a few moments before we
begin to eat, for they may only have been delayed. If any thing has
happened to them we shall be terribly disappointed, but as so many of
us are here we will carry out our original plans, and hope for the
best about the missing ones."

Just then one of the maids entered the reception-room. "Is Miss Lois
Underwood here? She is wanted at the telephone in the office."

"Oh, probably it's from one of the girls. I'll be right back in a
minute and tell you what has happened."

But when she returned, her face did not look as though she were pleased
with the message she had received. "It was Jean Cabot telephoning, but
all she said was, 'I sha'n't be at the banquet to-night.' Probably one
of those horrid sophs has her imprisoned, and made her telephone that
without any explanation, so it would be all the harder to bear."

"Are you sure it was Jean talking?" asked Elizabeth Fairfax. "Perhaps a
soph did it to deceive us."

"No; I recognized Jean's voice all right, in spite of the tone of
anger. I call it mighty hard luck, for Jean was to reply to the toast,
'How I Raised the 1915 Flag.' Of course it's an old story with most of
you now, but none of us will ever get tired of hearing Jean tell it in
that inimitable style of hers."

Again a maid summoned Lois to the telephone, and she returned again
with a downcast face. "It's Edith McCausland this time and all she said
was, 'Don't expect me at the banquet to-night,' and before I could ask
her the reason she had hung up the receiver."

"And are you sure it was Edith talking this time?" asked another
doubting freshman.

"Yes, quite sure, for no one could mistake her deep-toned voice.
Another of our speech-makers gone. Well, all I've got to say is that
some of the rest of you will have to speak impromptu, for we must have
toasts even if the sophs have stolen our famous after-dinner speakers."

As the maid appeared smiling a third time at the door Lois said, "You
needn't tell me I'm wanted at the telephone again, for I know it's Bess
Johnson this time to give me the same old message. I'm not going to
answer, for it's only giving more satisfaction to the sophs, and they
can keep ringing all night if they want to, but I'll not answer them.
Tell them Miss Underwood is too busy to answer the telephone. Come,
girls, let us go into the dining-room. Take any seat you wish; we won't
try to find our place cards, for we haven't any. Let's sing our class
song as we march in. Nell Butler, will you please go to the piano and
play for us?"

Obliging Nell, who always was called upon to furnish music at all the
freshman doings, hurried to the piano and struck the opening chords
of the class song, and then the girls broke into song and marched
double-file into the long dining-room. There were two large tables and
one smaller one intended for the speakers and guests of honor. Lois
showed Miss Hooper and Miss Moulton to their seats and then called out,
"Anne Cockran, Phil Woodworth, Mary Williamson, Stell Leavitt, Clara
Hawkins, Vera Montgomery, Gertrude Hollis, this way, please," and when
they sat down there were still the three empty seats which were to have
been occupied by the missing girls. "We want these seats filled, too,"
said Lois. "Betty Horton, you come over here, for you'll have to sing
for us; and, Florence Cummings, here's a seat for you; prepare to
tell us how you made the glorious 1915 flags we've lost forever; and,
Eleanor Whitcomb, join the other celebrities; because of your sophomore
room-mate you can talk on, 'What I Know about the Sophomores, after
Rooming with One for Seven Months.' There, that looks better to have
the table full. Ladies, be seated," and at the signal every girl sat
down and seizing her knife rapped three times on the table with it,
as they sang out, "Rah, rah, rah; rah, rah, rah; rah, rah, rah, the
freshmen."

Then they began to eat, and quantities of good things rapidly
disappeared. One would almost have wondered how they could eat so
much, for it sounded as though each girl was keeping up a continual
conversation with her neighbor, and every one admits it is somewhat
difficult to eat and talk at the same time, but a college girl can do
almost everything and perhaps did not find this difficult. Anyway, they
continued to eat until about eight o'clock and then Lois called on Miss
Hooper to respond to the toast, "The Freshman as Seen by the Faculty."
Miss Hooper, in spite of her predilection for mathematics, had a keen
sense of humor and kept the girls in gales of laughter as she summoned
up the funny mistakes of freshmen she had known, without making her
remarks at all personal. The girls clapped and clapped when she
finished, and many a one was glad to see this side of their mathematics
instructor which was entirely lacking in class-room.

"Now," said Lois, "we'll hear from Anne Cockran on 'How I Enjoy Being
an Invalid.'"

Anne couldn't stand up, and so leaned against her chair and very
briefly but brightly gave her views of the game after she had been
obliged to sit on the benches and watch the others. One girl after
another was called upon and all sounded the praises of 1915 and told
what it had to be thankful for, even if the game had been lost. They
sang between the speeches, and with so much cheering and singing many
began to get hoarse. Just after Eleanor Whitcomb had sent the girls
into gales of laughter over her humorous description of the sophs as
judged by her room-mate, the door from the hallway opened to admit
the proprietor, who ushered in Mlle. Franchant and the three missing
freshmen. Instantly every girl arose and cheered and cheered in spite
of tired throats. Room was made at the center table and the four late
arrivals were given the places of honor.

"Everything's eaten," said Lois Underwood, "except what you see on the
tables, but help yourselves freely to that. Only don't eat too long,
for we're crazy to hear what happened to you and how you succeeded in
finally getting here. Elizabeth Johnson, you're next on the programme;
please give us an account of yourself."

Bess arose and slipped off her long black cloak, revealing a somewhat
soiled and torn shirt-waist. "You see, girls, I'm not dressed just
exactly right for a banquet, but take me as you find me and you'll
understand everything when I've finished.

"We're here at last, although we never expected to be and it's been
rather difficult getting here. Some way or other the sophs found out
that we were to have the banquet to-night and they suspected we three
girls would speak. They evidently decided it was too late to break up
the banquet entirely, but the next best thing seemed to be to kidnap
us and keep us locked up until it was too late to think of leaving the
Hill. I left Wellington about three o'clock and walked down back of the
dormitory, intending to take the electrics over at Canton Corners for
Boston and then take the train at the South Station.

"Before I had gone very far Elsie Atherton overtook me and asked me
where I was going. Not daring to say 'in town,' I told her I was going
for a little walk, for I hoped she would leave me at the Corners, and
then I could walk farther down the street to take the car. But she
replied that she was out walking, too, and suggested that I go down to
her aunt's on Oliver Street for a few moments, as she had an errand
to do there. I knew I had several hours ahead of me and that it would
be less suspicious if I went with her than if I refused and boarded a
car. I consented, and we soon reached her aunt's house. A maid let us
in and said that Mrs. Wolcott was upstairs and wished us to go to her
room. I followed Elsie up the stairs and we entered what I supposed
was Mrs. Wolcott's room. Instead of meeting Mrs. Wolcott, a masked
figure approached me and before I could realize what was happening I
was seized by several other masked figures and blindfolded. Then I was
commanded to sit down and my hands and feet were bound securely to the
chair. Some one whispered in my ear, 'Now get to Langley Inn if you
can,' and they left the room and locked the door behind them.

"How long I sat there I do not know, but I twisted and turned and tried
every way to free myself, but it was no use. In course of time the door
was unlocked and some one else was brought in and bound to a chair as
I had been, and I heard again the whisper, 'Now get to Langley Inn in
time for your banquet if you can.' And then the door was locked. It
did not take me long to discover that my companion in misery was Jean
Cabot, and we were comparing our experiences and trying to plan our
escape when the door opened again and a third victim was brought in,
securely fastened as we had been, and given the same suggestion that
had been given to us.

"For the third time the door was closed and locked and we were left
to darkness and ourselves. It took only a moment to discover that the
new arrival was Edith McCausland, but before she could tell us of her
experiences we heard the key in the lock and we waited for the fourth
victim. The electric light was turned on and we heard one of the girls,
who we afterward decided was Sallie Lawrence, take down the telephone
receiver and call up 'The Langley Inn.' When the line was connected we
were each forced to say that we would not be at the banquet. No one
answered my call, so I concluded Lois had begun to suspect foul play
and would have nothing more to do with it. After the telephoning was
over we were warned not to try to escape, for it would be impossible,
and if we were quiet and submissive we would be released before ten
o'clock. We said nothing and were soon left to ourselves again.

"We decided to make every effort to free ourselves, and after much
straining and striving, Edith McCausland got one hand free. She had her
old clothes on and in her shirt-waist pocket was a penknife which she
had used that afternoon in the lab. With this she finally managed to
cut the ropes from her other hand and then from her feet and she was
free. Although it was pitch dark she succeeded in freeing Jean and me,
and we breathed freely again and felt that half the battle was won. We
did not dare to turn on the lights for fear the girls would see us,
for we suspected they might be somewhere within sight of the room or
perhaps in the very house itself. We groped around until we found the
windows and as quietly as possible opened them. Jean discovered that
the window she had opened was not far above the ground, and better
still, had a stout trellis which reached to the very sill. She decided
to try to crawl down it, for even if it would not hold her weight the
distance to fall would not be very great and she was willing to risk
it. Once out of the house the way would be clear.

"Very slowly and cautiously she stepped down upon the trellis, which
proved perfectly capable of holding her weight, and in a moment she was
on the ground. We followed suit, and in my haste to be out I forgot to
close the window and I'm wondering now if the cold air from the window
has chilled the whole house. Anyway, I didn't go back to close it. We
crept back of the house without saying a word and walked fully five
minutes before we stopped to get our bearings and hold a consultation.
Edith knew where we were and told us that a short cut would take us
up back of Faculty Row. If we could only get one of the faculty to
chaperon us we could telephone for an automobile and get out to the
banquet before it was too late. We knew Miss Hooper and Miss Moulton
were out here, so we determined to ask Mlle. Franchant to go with us,
knowing her fondness for the freshmen. We stumbled through backyards
and over fences and finally reached Mlle. Franchant's house. We told
her our story and persuaded her to chaperon us out here. We telephoned
for an automobile and here we are at last, a little the worse for wear,
perhaps, but loyal members of 1915," and she sat down amid vigorous
clapping and shouts of "Bravo!"

Lois then called upon Edith McCausland to tell the story of her capture.

"My story is very similar to Elizabeth's," she said, "except the first
part. I had an afternoon lecture and when I came out of College Hall
and was on my way to West, Helen Humphrey overtook me and asked me if I
would like a short automobile ride. You know she rooms next to me and
we've always been very good friends. Her aunt had offered her machine
to her that afternoon and it would be at West in about fifteen minutes.
I pleaded an engagement, but she urged so hard I thought I might go for
an hour or so and then take a late train in town. After we had ridden
until it was almost dark, Helen suggested that we stop for a moment at
her aunt's house. I was on pins and needles, for I knew I must hurry
or I'd never make the train. Still, it seemed the only polite thing to
stop a moment and thank her aunt for the ride.

"When we rang the bell we were admitted by a maid, who sent us
upstairs. The rest of the story you know, for Bess has told you. It's
been the most exciting experience I've ever had, but now that we're
here and have fooled those horrid sophs, I don't mind the rest. But
there's one consolation, girls, we'll be sophs ourselves next year and
we ought to take all this in the right spirit, as no real harm has been
done by our enemies," and Edith sat down as though she were very, very
tired. The girls were impartial in their applause and gave Edith her
full share and then Jean was called upon for her story.

"I had planned," she began, "to leave Merton very early after dinner
and spend the afternoon in town with my cousin at the hospital where
she is training. After I had dressed and was just about to start,
Gertrude Vinton came in to talk a little while, and when she discovered
where I was going she decided to go in town with me, for, strange to
relate, she has a friend training at the Massachusetts General, too,
who knows Cousin Nan very well. She suggested that we visit the girls
and then have lunch up town and go back to Ashton together. I tried
to think of various excuses, but couldn't persuade her to change her
mind. So there was nothing to do but for us to go in town together, and
I made up my mind that I could lose her after we reached the hospital.

"But she stuck to me closer than a brother and insisted that we see
both girls at the same time if possible. When we arrived at the
hospital we found her friend was on duty, so we both had one hour with
Nan. We would have stayed longer, but Nan was obliged to report at
four o'clock for ward work. Just as we were discussing where to go for
lunch, Gertrude began to feel sick and declared she should faint if
she couldn't lie down immediately. Nan took us into one of the little
waiting-rooms and brought water and restoratives to revive her, and
although she did not faint she declared she was in great pain and must
get back to college as quickly as possible. She said she was subject to
terrible attacks of indigestion, so she wanted to be in her own room
in East rather than in a hospital in town. Nothing would do but I must
go out to college with her. On the train she said almost nothing, but
curled up in the seat as though she were suffering intensely. I pitied
her and tried to make her as comfortable as possible, although inwardly
I was raging because I was not on my way to our banquet.

"When we reached the station, Gertrude said she felt better and thought
she could walk to East if we went slowly, and I helped her. Strange to
relate, we met no one on the Row or in the dormitory. Gertrude rooms
alone on the first floor, and so we were soon in her room. She lay down
on her couch a few moments and then asked me if I would go down to the
other end of the corridor and ask Ethel Fullman to come in and help
her. Of course Ethel Fullman is a soph, but not a particle of suspicion
entered my innocent little head and I walked into her room as big as
life to tell her how sick Gertrude was and how much she wanted her to
go up to her room to help her. As I entered her room I found myself
in the midst of five sophs and before I could tell my story they had
seized me and blindfolded me and covered my mouth so I could make no
outcry. I tried my best to break away, but they were too many for me,
and I soon gave it up as useless. Some one put a long cloak over me
and I was led for what seemed miles and miles. Finally we stopped, and
were admitted to the house which the other girls have described to you.
There's no need of my saying more, except that I think Mlle. Franchant
was a jewel to come out here with us, and I move that we all rise and
show her how much we appreciate what she has done."

Every girl jumped to her feet and the walls echoed and reëchoed with
the cheers for the popular French instructor. After the speeches of the
three heroines of the evening other speeches seemed out of the question
and Lois suggested that the rest of the time be devoted to dancing and
singing. At ten o'clock they left the hotel and took the train for
Boston, and, after crossing the city they boarded the last train for
Ashton.

It was a very quiet lot of freshmen that crossed the campus and entered
the various dormitories, for they were very tired, but they felt a
certain exaltation. Although they had been defeated in the basket-ball
game, they felt that they had shown their superiority over the sophs
in the other two events. When Jean and Elizabeth finally reached their
room, Elizabeth said, "You must be dead tired, Jean, with all you've
been through. I can hardly move, myself, and I've done nothing all
these exciting days but just look on. What a heroine you are, Jean.
You're getting to be one of the most popular girls in 1915."

"Not at all, Elizabeth, and if I were, perhaps it's not the only
kind of popularity I want. 'Some men are born great, others achieve
greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.' You know the
quotation; well, perhaps it's true in my case."

"Which one, Jean?"

"Oh, there ought not to be a question in your mind. Good night. Please
don't waken me in the morning. I'm going to take one of my seven
remaining cuts," and she went to sleep with her head full of banquets
and kidnapings and flag-raisings and basket-ball games.



                              CHAPTER XV

                           MR. CABOT'S VISIT


All college days are not as exciting and as full of the unusual as
those centering around the freshman-sophomore basket-ball game. It took
but a little while to settle down to the regular routine of recitations
and hard study. This was the time to do the best work of the year,
for June was not far off, and that meant hot nights and hotter days
when studying, except for an occasional examination, seemed out of the
question. This does not mean that the girls did nothing else but study
during the spring term, but it was what they concentrated most of their
energy upon.

Jean was studying hard, particularly upon her French, for she had not
forgotten her promise to Richard Fairfax and to herself. Some days it
was harder than others, and she wondered if, after all, it was worth
while if her college education was to end in June. On one of these days
when the morrow's assignments seemed harder than usual and she was
just a little discouraged about ever getting them, she decided to go
down to the post office for the afternoon mail which came in at four
o'clock, not that she expected a letter particularly, but she needed
the exercise and change of air. There were plenty of girls she might
have asked to accompany her, but to-day she wanted to be alone. She
apparently was not in much of a hurry, for she went out of her way and
circled around the laboratories before starting in the direction of the
post office.

Leisurely she entered the office and gazed into her box and there
indeed was a letter. But when she found it was from her father that
changed matters entirely. She could not wait until she reached home
to read it, but she sat right down in the office on the edge of the
window sill and tore open the envelope and began reading the letter.
It was very brief, but told her that unexpected business called him to
the East and he was starting as soon as possible and would wire her
when he reached Boston. Her joy knew no bounds; her father actually
coming to see her and perhaps already on his way. Oh, how glad she
would be to see him, and then she said aloud, "He will take me back
home with him; I can't stay here and see him go back alone. Two months
more here aren't worth it. I shall miss the girls and the good times
and Tom's graduation, but they're nothing in comparison with father and
California and the boys. Yes; I shall persuade him to take me back. I
know I can do it. He can't refuse me when he sees how badly I want to
go," and she hurried back to Merton to tell Elizabeth and the others
the good news.

As she ran up the corridor to her room, she saw Miss Hooper just
turning away from the door. "Oh," gasped Jean, "isn't Elizabeth at
home? I left her in the room when I went down for the mail. I'm sorry
neither of us were here to receive you. Won't you come in now with me?"

"Yes, Miss Cabot, I shall be delighted to, for although I came to see
you both I wanted particularly to talk with you. Perhaps Miss Fairfax
will return before long."

Jean opened the door and led her to the most comfortable chair by the
window. The conversation was general for a while and then Jean could
not keep her secret any longer. "Oh, Miss Hooper, I've just received a
letter from my father and he's coming East on business and will be in
Boston in a few days to see me. I'm so excited I can hardly wait to see
him. Just think! It's a long time from September to April."

"How splendid!" said Miss Hooper. "Of course you are very anxious to
see him, and no doubt he is as anxious to see you. How very _à propos_,
too; I came to talk to you about something particular which you may
care to talk over with your father, so I'll tell you now without
waiting any longer. I came to ask you if you would like to spend the
summer abroad with me and perhaps one or two of the girls. I generally
plan to go over every two or three years and have decided to go this
year. I knew you liked to travel and could afford to do so, and hoped
you would like to go with me. We need not join any excursion party,
but take things leisurely and go where our inclination leads us. I have
always wanted to spend a summer in the British Isles, but have never
had the opportunity before. If we started the last of June, right after
commencement, we should have almost three months, for college does not
open until late next fall. You wouldn't mind giving up going home for
one summer vacation when there are three more to come, and especially
if your father is coming to see you now. What do you think of the idea?"

For a moment Jean could not speak and then she burst out, "Why, Miss
Hooper, I wouldn't give up going home to California for anything in
the world! Why, do you know, ever since I got father's letter I have
been thinking of only one thing, and that was to beg him to take me
home with him when he goes. You know, I've never intended to stay here
more than one year, and so I can't see what difference it makes whether
I go back home now or in June. And how can you want me to go abroad
with you? I'm not the kind of girl you'd like to travel with; I've
never been half decent to you since I came. I've tried to, sometimes,
but I never can forget how foolishly I acted at the very beginning of
the year when I left your mathematics class. If there's ever been one
thing which has made me want to return to college another year, it was
to apologize to you and take mathematics I over again with some credit
to myself and to you. I have been ashamed of myself whenever I have
allowed myself to think of it, and I now humbly offer you my apology."

"And I accept it, Jean. May I call you Jean? I felt very bad when I
discovered you had left the class and several times I was tempted to
ask you the reason, but I thought sometime it would come out all right
and you would tell me about it. From the very first I've wanted your
friendship and your confidence and I have tried many times to gain
it. I felt there was a reason for your attitude towards me and that
sometime you would tell me what it was. Will you tell me now?"

"There is not much to tell, Miss Hooper, but what there is you shall
hear now. The first day of the mathematics class you may remember that
I was late, and when I entered your room you spoke to me, as you had
a perfect right to do, about my tardiness, and reminded me that the
class began at nine o'clock and not several minutes after. Then you
called on me for the Binomial Theorem, and because I could not remember
it you called upon the next girl and after she recited correctly you,
indirectly perhaps, blamed me because I did not know it. I am extremely
sensitive, I admit, and was keenly hurt because I thought you had
criticized me too harshly before the entire class. I realized that my
foundation in mathematics was very poor, and I feared my work would be
an utter failure, particularly as I had begun in such a way. I acted
upon the impulse of the moment and got permission to drop the subject
and substitute psychology in its place. Many a time I have regretted
it, but it is done and I have been the one to suffer the penalty. It
is a very poor explanation, Miss Hooper, but such as it is, I hope you
will accept it."

"Yes, Jean, and I see how much to blame I was, too. My greatest
weakness has always been my sarcastic tongue, which I can never quite
seem to control, try as I will, and I fear I have caused many another
girl unhappiness through my thoughtlessness. I feel that I am as much
to blame as you and I offer you my apology. Will you accept it?"

"Yes, indeed, Miss Hooper."

"And now, Jean, that we are talking along this line may I speak a
little about your college course? I have been interested in you from
the start, and I have followed your work in all the departments very
carefully. I know how badly you got behind the first three months and
the warnings you received. I know the fresh start you took and the
steady progress you have made ever since, and the splendid all-around
freshman you are showing yourself to be. I do not want it to stop
there. I want you to come back to Ashton for another year, anyway, and,
if possible, for the whole four years. You have an influence with the
girls; you're a born leader and can accomplish great things or small
things as you choose. I think you prefer the great things and it will
take longer than this short year to accomplish them. I am not thinking
of your taking my particular course, as you have said you wish to do,
that in itself is a little thing, but it is the principle of the thing,
for if you conquer that you will conquer the bigger obstacles that must
beset your path. Education is not a four years' college course; it
is life, and there are always going to be mathematic courses, which,
though unpleasant, must be taken up and finished, and the way you meet
them then depends upon the start you make now.

"I realize that home means a great deal to you, and so it does to all
of us while we have it, and the memories of it last us long after we
have lost it, but it will mean all the more to you later on. I know
what I am telling you, Jean, for I've lived and learned myself. I'm
begging you with all my heart and soul to come back to us and be the
fine, splendid woman your father and brothers expect you to become.
Perhaps I've said more than I should, but I'm so anxious for you, Jean."

"No, Miss Hooper, it's been splendid to hear you talk like this; it's
as my mother would have talked; it's what I've needed all these years.
I've always done pretty much as I wanted to, without considering any
one but myself. You're right, I ought to come back and do what father
and my brothers want me to do and what you want me to do and what I
want to do myself. Yes, I admit it to you now; I've struggled against
it all the year. Every time I've said I wasn't coming back I knew
it wasn't right. Something in me always said, 'You are coming back;
you know you are,' but I wouldn't listen and tried to deceive myself
and everybody else, but I can't any longer. I'm coming back and take
Mathematics I. and French, too, if I fail at June, and I'm going to
work with all that's in me for dear old Ashton College.

"Oh, thank you, Miss Hooper, for coming just when you did, for I
think if I had seen father first it would have been harder for me to
decide the right way. And now that I feel so differently about coming
back, perhaps I shall change my mind about the summer vacation. You
quite took my breath away by asking me to go with you. I couldn't
believe that you would want to travel with any one as silly as I have
continually shown myself to be. You said perhaps there would be one or
two other girls. Have you asked any one else?"

"No, Jean, because I wanted to find out first how you felt about it,
and if you cared to go I wanted you to suggest others that you would
like to have with us. Do you know of any one?"

"Yes, I know of one whom I should prefer above all others and who would
enjoy it more than all others, but I'm not going to tell you who it is
just now, if you don't mind. I've got to think it all over, and after
father has come and we have had a good talk together, I'm going to
take him to your room, if I may, and tell you my decision. I'm very
favorably inclined, though, at the present moment."

"I agree with you that it would be best to leave it until your father
comes and you can talk it over with him. I shall be very glad to have
you bring him to see me as often as you care to while he is here. This
has been a splendid afternoon, Jean, and I thank you for it from the
bottom of my heart and I hope it is the beginning of many others."

"I think you are the one to be thanked, Miss Hooper, and not I."

"Well, perhaps we both can accept the other's thanks if we feel that we
need to, and now I must hurry on or I shall be late for supper and that
is a very poor example for a matron to set her girls. Come and see me
often. Good-by for to-day," and she hurried down the corridor, leaving
Jean smiling at the door.

About a week after this conversation took place a telegram came
informing Jean that her father would arrive in Boston on the next day,
Wednesday, and she was to meet him at the train. It was a very happy
and excited girl who watched the New York express empty its passengers
at the South Station, and she was beginning to fear he had been delayed
somewhere along the way, for at first she could not find him in the
hustling crowd. But after a while, away down the platform, she caught
sight of him waving his hat as he saw her up beside the gate. It was a
joyful meeting, and how their tongues did fly! Mr. Cabot had been to
New Haven to see Tom and Jean insisted upon hearing all about that.

They sat down in the big waiting-room and talked and talked and looked
at each other to be sure it was really they. "I can't believe you're
really here, Daddy; it seems as though I were dreaming. Just pinch me
and see if I am asleep or awake." A hearty pinch assured Jean that she
was awake, but she exclaimed, "Oh, but it's good to have you here with
me!"

"Let me look at you, Jeannie dear; you're changed somehow. You look the
same and still there's something in your face I've never seen there
before. What is it?"

"Nothing, Father, that I know of. I'm just glad I'm alive and you're
with me, that's all. How long can you stay with me? I want to know, for
there are so many things I want you to do and see."

"I must go back to New York to-morrow night, Jean, for I have an
appointment there the following day. How would you like to go back with
me, girlie?"

"Do you mean New York, Father, or California?"

"Well, when I spoke I meant New York, but how about California?"

"I should like to go to New York all right, but not to California. I
did want to go badly only last week, but it's all over now and I've
changed my mind and I want to stay at college the rest of the year and
the other three years, too. And I've something to ask you, Dad, about
this summer." And then she told him about Miss Hooper's plans for the
trip abroad, and they got so interested in it that they forgot entirely
where they were and what time it was.

"Why, Father," exclaimed Jean, "here we're wasting perfectly good time
sitting in an old railroad station when we might be up town or out at
college! Look at the clock; we've been sitting here over two hours.
Why, we won't get any supper if we don't hurry. You can stay with me at
Merton for supper, and then I've engaged a room for you at the Inn for
the rest of the time. I had hoped you would stay over Sunday, anyway.
Just think of all the things I want to show you! When can I do it all?"

"If there isn't time this trip we'll have to do what we can and leave
the rest till next winter, for if you're going away from us all summer
I'll surely have to find a business call east again soon after you
return. Perhaps we had better start now."

There followed a busy twenty-four hours for Jean and her father. He
insisted upon meeting all the girls Jean had written him about and he
talked with them about the events of the year, for he was perfectly
familiar with them through Jean's long, breezy, confidential letters
which reached him every Friday regularly. He was introduced to Mrs.
Thompson and some of the faculty; he was shown the college buildings,
the rare volumes and art treasures in the library, but he wanted most
to see the corridor where Elizabeth had fallen asleep. He considered
that second only in interest to the roof-stairs where Jean had guarded
the flag. He visited the "Pond," and Mrs. McAllister's house, and the
society rooms and every other place Jean could find time to take
him. She had promised Miss Hooper that her father and she would have
afternoon tea with her at four o'clock and she proudly ushered him into
the tiny reception-room at Wellington, which was for Miss Hooper's
private use.

They talked about everything in general and Miss Hooper carefully
avoided all mention of the European trip until Mr. Cabot said, "I think
we ought not to stay much longer, Jean, for you know I must take the
6.17 train for Boston, so hadn't we better tell Miss Hooper what we
have decided about Europe?"

"Yes, Father, but suppose you tell her."

"All right, dear; I'm very glad to do so. I'm very grateful to you,
Miss Hooper, for the great interest you seem to have taken in my
motherless little girl. She's a good girl, though, and I don't blame
any one for taking an interest in her. If she wants to go to Europe
with you for the summer, I tell her she can go, although we'll miss her
terribly out home. She's the light of our house, you know, and it's
going to be pretty lonesome without her, but I want her to see the
world and make the most of herself, for nothing but the best will suit
us. We're pretty particular, that's why we sent her east, and we want
her to stay till you've given her all you've got to give and she feels
she's learned enough to come back to California and take care of us.
She said you wanted some one else to go with you and she does, too, and
when I asked her who it was to be, it didn't take long for her to say
'Elizabeth Fairfax.' So I'm going to send her along with Jean, and I
want you to do the same for both of them. Give them whatever you think
is best for them and plenty of it. Jean doesn't want Elizabeth to know
anything about it yet, for she's planning a surprise, but I'm telling
you now so that you can go ahead with your plans and be ready to start
the day after Tom's commencement. He's counting on having Jean there
that day, for she's got to represent the family, so I shouldn't want to
disappoint him; but after June twentieth, the sooner the better. Wish I
could go with you, but I can't leave the business this year.

"Just one more cup of tea, thank you, and we'll be going. This is the
best tea I've had since I can remember. Have you learned how to make
it, Jean?"

"Yes, Father, I can make tea, but not like Miss Hooper's. Every one
says she makes the best tea in college. Now we must go," and after a
rather protracted leave-taking they almost ran for the train.

As Miss Hooper was washing her tea-dishes and putting them away, she
hummed a little song to herself and said, "No wonder Jean Cabot is such
a splendid girl. How can she help it with such a father?"

And as Jean and her father hastened to the little station, Mr. Cabot
said to Jean, "Mighty fine woman, that Miss Hooper, mighty fine woman.
Almost makes me want to study mathematics myself."

In a few moments he was on the train, waving good-by to Jean, and if
she had not had this great new happiness in her heart it would have
been very hard to let him go back home without her, but she smiled
bravely through her tears and walked back to Merton apparently as happy
as ever.



                              CHAPTER XVI

                            PRIZE-SPEAKING


Jean spent the spring vacation with Elizabeth up on "Olympus," as
she called their hilltop village, and she found the beauty and new
experiences of the spring as fascinating as those of the winter.
Although every waking hour seemed filled to the brim, still it was a
restful change and the two girls returned to college with new strength
and enthusiasm to begin the last term of the year. They would need
it all, too, for this is the hardest term of the year, with the hot,
drooping days of May and June, and still hotter nights, when studying
seems almost impossible and one is content to sit in the darkness and
watch the stars and dream such dreams as float through college girls'
heads on nights in June, when all the world is theirs.

On the Monday after they returned to college, both girls went up to
oratory class in the afternoon and sat back to enjoy the hour, knowing
it was not their turn to mount the platform and hold forth. Jean sat
near the open window and was breathing in the balmy air and watching
some greedy robins snatch at the worms in the damp, new grass. She had
almost forgotten there was such a thing as oratory until Miss Moulton's
clear, penetrating voice brought her back to consciousness again.

"Of course you know, young ladies, that prize-speaking is an annual
event at Ashton, and it is a great honor to participate in it. Any
member of the oratory classes is eligible. In the freshman divisions I
have made it a rule that every girl must do one of two things: either
she must learn a new selection or choose one already learned during the
year and present it to the committee of the faculty chosen to judge
the preliminary speakers; or she must write an original poem or prose
selection and present it before the freshman oratory classes. The
preliminary prize-speaking will take place in the chapel on the evening
of May twelfth at eight o'clock. The annual prize-speaking will take
place at three o'clock on the afternoon of June sixth. The classes will
meet May twenty-eighth for the afternoon of original work. I hope you
will all take great interest in this work and feel free to consult me
at any time about it. Unless there are some questions to be asked now,
we will consider the class excused."

As the girls left the class-room there was but one topic of
conversation, for Miss Moulton had filled their minds with but one
thought. Neither one of her propositions pleased the majority of the
girls, for one looked as difficult as the other. Of course a few were
delighted with what she had said, for they had been anticipating the
event and in their hearts had secret hopes of being the prize winner,
even though there were upper-class girls to compete with them. The
chapel steps looked so attractive in the afternoon sunshine that three
or four of the girls wandered over there to sit down for a few moments
to discuss the question.

"What are you going to do, Jean?" said Anne Cockran as she limped up to
join the girls. Although it had been a long time since her accident,
she could not walk easily yet.

"Don't ask me, Anne; I don't know. I don't like the idea of exhibiting
my limited oratorical ability before the faculty, but positively I
haven't an original idea in my head. I'll have to think it over."

"Why, nonsense, Jean," said Bess Johnson, "everybody knows that
original sonnet you wrote for Miss Whiting last month was the cleverest
thing in our whole division. When Miss Whiting condescends to praise
anything we freshmen do, you can take it from me that it's pretty good.
You don't need to hesitate about going in for the original stunt."

"Elizabeth," said Anne, "you've just got to try for the prize, for
there isn't a girl in our whole division that can hold a candle to
you. If you give that little poem, 'Carcasson,' with which you won
Miss Moulton's heart last term, you'll melt the faculty to tears, and
they'll put you on the finals before you've finished the second verse."

"Oh, Anne, you flatterer, why I couldn't compete with you or a
half-dozen more of the girls in our division, to say nothing of
the upper-class girls," replied Elizabeth, smiling. "I'm trying for
credit in my German, and perhaps history, and it takes every spare
moment I can get to do my collateral reading. It seems as though Miss
Evans tried to see how much work she could pile on us. I think I'll
try at the preliminaries, though, because it's easier than working
on something original. I can give something I learned last term,
'Carcasson,' if you all like that so well."

"Like it?" said Jean. "Why, Beth, it's by far the best thing anybody
has done in class this whole year and you've just got to give it, and I
know you'll make the finals, and if you do, why, we'll all insist upon
your trying for all your worth for the prize. Why shouldn't a freshman
win it? Think of the honor for the class. You've been saying lately you
wished you could do something for 1915, and here's your chance. Why, I
think it's an honor just to be on the finals even if you don't win the
prize. Who knows how many are generally chosen?"

"Eight, I think," said Bess Johnson. "I was looking over Edith
Thayer's memorabilia the other day and saw a last year's programme.
Edith spoke last year, but didn't win a prize. As I remember it, there
were eight speakers. Anyway, there were somewhere near that number."

"What is the prize, Bess?" asked Anne. "Miss Moulton forgot to say
anything about that, and I think it's the most important item."

"The first prize is twenty-five dollars in gold and the second and
third ten dollars each. Of course it's the honor more than the money
that counts," said Bess, whose idea of money values was very hazy,
being abundantly supplied by an indulgent father. Although Elizabeth
said nothing she thought the twenty-five dollars would help her a great
deal if, by any chance, it came her way, for she needed a new dress and
hat for class-day, but she hated to ask her father for anything more
this year.

"Well," said Jean, "this loafing here will never do for me. It's
society meeting to-night and I've got a theme to write before supper.
If any of you want to see me, come right down to the room and make
yourselves comfortable, but don't talk to me until I've finished my
theme. I think the subjects get worse and worse every week. Where do
you suppose Miss Whiting ever finds them? I should think her poor head
would ache many a time before she found some to really suit her. I
wonder if she ever corrects half of the themes."

"I doubt it," said Bess; "they say Mary Dudley corrects the themes in
the daily theme course, for she's doing special work in the English for
her degree."

All the girls seemed to have plenty to do, and Jean went down to 45
alone and worked on her theme for the next day and finished it just as
the supper bell rang.

When the preliminary prize-speaking took place, it was surprising how
many entries there were, especially among the freshmen, for undoubtedly
most of them had decided that this was the lesser of the two evils
offered them by Miss Moulton. From the large number there were eight
chosen for the finals and among them was Elizabeth Fairfax, the only
freshman thus honored. There were three seniors, two juniors, two
sophomores and the one freshman, and 1915 was jubilant over the fact
that one of its members was chosen. When Elizabeth first heard of it
she was a little frightened and declared she never could do it, but
when she saw how all the freshmen felt the honor that was hers in being
chosen to represent them, she determined to enter the contest with all
the best that was in her and prove to them that she was as loyal to
1915 as any of the rest of them.

She spent hours and hours with Miss Moulton and finally decided upon
a selection which, like the others, was to be kept secret until the
programme was announced. Every minute that she could spare from her
regular work she put upon her selection, and as the fatal day drew
near she went again and again to the chapel and mounted the platform
to move the empty seats with her eloquence. Miss Moulton gave all the
girls equal coaching, and worked harder, perhaps, than all the girls
together. When she had heard the last girl rehearse her selection for
the last time, she closed the chapel door behind her with a bang and
locking it said to herself and the clinging ivy on the tower wall, "I
wish there were eight prizes so they all could have one, for they all
deserve one, still I hope--"

But she did not finish, for in the gathering dusk she recognized
Elizabeth Fairfax's slender figure advancing toward her. "Oh, Miss
Moulton, can I have just one more rehearsal to-night? There's one place
toward the end that troubles me."

"No, Miss Fairfax, not to-night; you are tired and nervous and you must
do nothing more. Take my advice and think no more of your selection
to-night; go to bed early and have a good night's sleep and to-morrow
morning you will have forgotten all about these imaginary troubles.
It's always darkest just before the dawn, you know, so let's not think
any more about prize-speaking. I'm very tired to-night, too, but I'm
going home to read some really thrilling detective story or something
equally absorbing until I get sleepy, and then away to bed in spite
of all the work I ought to do. I advise you not to do any studying
to-night, for you are excused from to-morrow's lessons. Good night,
Miss Fairfax. I wish you a restful night and success to-morrow," and
the two went their separate ways.

There could not have been a more beautiful June day than the one
chosen for prize-speaking. The sun shed its warmth and brightness over
everything, and the little green leaves danced merrily in the soft
summer wind. The rain of a few days before had freshened the grass and
the flowers until it seemed as though they were outdoing themselves
for this special occasion. Merry little red and gray squirrels ran up
and down the great tall trees and then across the wide paths, out of
sight to another tree, and some of the bolder birds sang lustily as if
proud of their share in the day's festivities. All nature seemed to
be clapping its hands to applaud the eight nervous speakers concealed
somewhere in the rear of the chapel.

Prize-speaking Day is properly considered the forerunner of Class Day
and Commencement, hence the friends of the college make every effort
to attend this annual event. Long before three o'clock the seating
capacity of the chapel seemed taxed to its utmost, and the gallery had
to be opened to accommodate the waiting throng. Members of the various
oratory classes had been chosen as ushers and were pretty indeed in
their white dresses, with sprays of green ivy twisted in their hair,
and they carried batons wound with white and green ribbons. Jean was
one of the two representatives of the freshman class and was enjoying
every moment of her ushering, for it was the first time she had ever
served in this capacity, as only the upper-class girls ushered at
Vespers on Sunday afternoons.

A few minutes after three o'clock, Miss Emerson welcomed the guests
to the exercises of the afternoon and announced the entire programme
of the days to come. Then she informed them that the three judges
were from neighboring colleges and at the close of the speaking she
would announce their decision regarding the prize. In conclusion, she
asked that there be no applause, and then took her seat with the other
members of the faculty in the front row of seats usually occupied by
the seniors. One after another of the speakers came upon the platform,
did their very best, thrilled their listeners and then took their seats
on the front row of the annex which had been reserved for them.

Last on the programme was Elizabeth Fairfax and she was to give
Tennyson's "Lady of Shalot." When she came upon the platform she looked
very small and white, and her simple muslin dress was the one she had
worn the year before at her high-school graduation. Instead of coming
to the front of the platform as the others had done, she stood back
almost in the center of the stage, where it was a little dark in spite
of the brilliance of the outdoor world. She stood for a moment without
uttering a sound, and more than one of the vast audience thought she
must have become stagestruck and forgotten the lines, but soon her
sweet, clear voice began:

    "On either side the river lie
    Long fields of barley and of rye,
    That clothe the wold and meet the sky;"

And she held every listener spellbound as she told the sad sweet story
of the Lady of Shalot as though she were inspired, and when she
finished with:

    "But Launcelot mused a little space:
    He said, 'She has a lovely face;
    God in his mercy lend her grace,
    The Lady of Shalot.'"

For a moment there was absolute silence, and then followed tremendous
applause in spite of what Miss Emerson had said. Every one looked at
her neighbor as much as to say, "There's not a question but that she
deserves the prize. I never heard anything like it."

So there was not great surprise a little later when Miss Emerson in
her quiet way announced the prize-winners and first called upon Miss
Elizabeth Fairfax to come to the platform. In presenting her with the
tiny box which held the twenty-five dollars in gold, she congratulated
her upon her excellent work and said that for the first time in her
memory the first prize had been given to a freshman, consequently she
might be doubly proud of what she had done. Elizabeth thanked her, and
very white and trembling took her place with the other speakers.

This ended the exercises and as the audience arose many went forward to
offer their congratulations. Jean seized Elizabeth and whispered, "You
were just wonderful, but I knew you'd do it. Oh, I'm so proud of you
and I wish Dick could have been here," and she gave her place to a long
line of girls and faculty, who were waiting their turn to speak to her.

When Elizabeth went up to her room from the supper-table that night she
was tired but very happy, for her dream of doing something worth while
for 1915 was realized. She walked slowly down the corridor and opened
the door, expecting to find Jean there, for she did not see her in the
reading-room with the other girls as she passed by the open door. She
did not see Jean in 45, but she gave a little gasp at the sight which
did meet her gaze. The study-table which usually stood in the center of
the room was drawn up between the couch and Elizabeth's desk. It had
been cleared of the books and lamp which usually adorned it and was one
mass of brilliant bloom. There were roses and carnations and sweet
peas and lilies of the valley filling the room with their sweetness.
For several moments Elizabeth just gazed and then walking up to the
flowers found there were cards attached to each bouquet. The roses were
from Jean, the carnations from Miss Hooper, the sweet peas from Merton
House girls, and the lilies from Miss Moulton. Elizabeth had never had
so many flowers in all her life before and could not quite believe they
were all hers. She buried her face in the great American Beauty roses
and was whispering a secret to them when Jean came out from the bedroom.

"Well, little room-mate, what do you think of yourself now? I couldn't
stay away another minute. The flowers came while we were at supper
and I hustled upstairs the minute I was through so I could have them
arranged before you came. Then after everything was ready I waited and
waited, but I thought you never would come. When at last I heard you
coming down the hall, I hid in the bedroom to see what you would do.
You looked just about as surprised as when Miss Emerson called you to
the platform this afternoon."

"Of course I was surprised, Jean. I never had so much happen to me in
one day before in all my life and I can hardly believe it's true. How
I wish Father and Brother could know all about it and see what you've
done for me! I must sit down and write to them now so the letter will
go out the first thing in the morning."

"Before you write your letter, Elizabeth, I want to ask you something.
Come over here on your couch and sit down, for you are tired, and we
can enjoy the flowers there just as well as standing up in the middle
of the room."

"All right, Jean, but let me take one of your roses with me. It's the
first time I've ever had an American Beauty of my very own. How good
you were to give them to me! You must have known how badly I have
wanted one."

In a moment the two girls sat down upon Elizabeth's couch and in
Elizabeth's hand was a beautiful, long-stemmed rose. "What are you
going to do this summer, Beth?" asked Jean.

"I don't quite know yet," Elizabeth answered. "I feel as though I
were needed at home so that mother can go away to visit her people in
Vermont, but I wish I could find some work to do, for I want to earn
the money for next year to help father all I can. Some of the girls are
talking about waiting on the table at the beach or at the mountains
and I thought of applying, too. Christine Newell is going to the White
Mountains and says she went last year and earned fifty dollars. She
wants me to go there with her, but I haven't decided yet."

"Before you decide, Elizabeth, I want to tell you something, and
perhaps it will alter your plans a little. Miss Hooper is going abroad
for the summer and has invited me to go with her. When father was here
I told him about it and my decision to stay at Ashton for the four
years. He was so delighted that he consented to the trip abroad for
the summer and said I might take any girl with me that I chose. Now I
have chosen you, Elizabeth, and I want you to say you will go to the
British Isles with Miss Hooper and me for your vacation. I have known
about it ever since father was here and it has been awfully hard to
keep it a secret, but I wanted to wait until after prize-speaking, for
I made up my mind that if you didn't win the first prize I should offer
you this as a consolation prize, and if you did win the prize then this
would be my own special prize. What do you say, will you accept my
prize, too?"

At first Elizabeth could not speak and just looked straight at Jean as
if to determine whether or not she was jesting. "Why, Jean Cabot! What
are you talking about? I spend a whole summer in Europe? Why, you must
be dreaming. I've never been out of New England and don't expect to go
to Europe till I've taught years and years. Why, all the money I have
in the world is this twenty-five dollars I won to-day and I need that
to buy my class-day dress and hat and shoes. Where do you suppose I'd
ever get the money? Why, it takes more than it does to go to college."

"You big goosie, you don't understand. You needn't consider the money;
I'm going to take you for my companion and it isn't to cost you a
penny. Father would like to go himself and would if it wasn't for
business, so he wants you to go with me in his place. Don't you see now
what I mean?"

"Yes, Jean, but why do you want me? There are so many of the other
girls like Peggy and Natalie and Sallie, who have traveled and know
more about the world than I. I'm pretty green, you know, when it comes
to society."

"Nonsense, Elizabeth; if I hadn't wanted you more than any one else I
shouldn't have asked you. Is it 'yes' or 'no'? Quick!"

"Why, you take my breath away, Jean. I can't believe you want me to go
with you."

"Yes, I do, I tell you, and you must say 'yes,' for I shan't take any
other answer. Now write your letter home and tell them what you are
going to do, or rather get their permission to do what you wish to do.
After you finish the letter we'll take it down to the office and then
go over to Miss Hooper's room for a minute. You want to thank her for
the flowers she sent you, and I want to tell her that you are going
with us. She will tell you what her plans are, and from now on we must
do a lot of reading with her about the places we are to visit, for
we don't want to appear to be perfect ignoramuses in the land of our
forefathers. Of course you know English history from A to Z, but I can
never tell one king from another and always mix up all the battles and
wars, so it's good hard reading from now on for me."

"Of course you know I'd like to go, Jean, but it's so sudden I can't
quite grasp it all, but I'll write home and tell them all about it, and
when I hear from them I can tell you definitely."

"I'm going to write a letter to your father this very minute, too,
and tell him what I think about the matter. Let's see who will finish
first."

Both pens scratched away at a merry rate, and each girl found so much
to say that the college clock struck eight before either one realized
it. "There, I've finished," said Jean. "How about you?"

"I have a little more on this page and then I'll be ready. You collect
the letters on the hall windows and go downstairs and register and I'll
be through by that time."

After the letters were dropped into the box outside the post office,
Jean exclaimed, "There, that's off my mind! Now to tell Miss Hooper."

They found Miss Hooper alone in her study lying on the couch because of
a severe headache. The girls insisted that she remain there in spite of
her protests. "We're only going to stay a minute, anyway, Miss Hooper.
I've come to tell you that Elizabeth has consented to travel with us
this summer." Elizabeth opened her mouth to say something, but Jean
began again, "She hasn't really said she would go, but she's written
home and after she hears from her father she'll tell us 'yes' pretty
quickly. Won't you, Elizabeth?"

"I think it's wonderful, Miss Hooper, but it's just like Jean, always
doing something to give pleasure to other people. I want to thank you,
too, for the beautiful flowers you sent me. I don't deserve all the
good things that have come to me to-day."

"If you didn't deserve them, dear, I am sure they never would come to
you. We shall be a very congenial trio, I am sure, this summer, and I
wish you both would come to see me Wednesday evening next so we can
talk over our plans. I have a list of reading to give to you. Jean
tells me you are a lover of history and literature, Elizabeth, so
perhaps you have read my list already. If so, we shall depend upon you
for a great deal of our information, for there is very little time left
in which to do a great deal of work. I am sorry I do not feel better
to-night, for we might have begun now."

"No, Miss Hooper, we must not stay a moment longer," said Jean.
"Elizabeth is tired, too, and we both have a little studying to do
before ten o'clock bell. I hope your head will be better in the
morning. Good night."

"Good night to both of you, and thank you for coming," said Miss
Hooper, and the two girls left Wellington and strolled slowly homeward
in the shimmering moonlight. As they neared Merton, Elizabeth broke the
silence. "I hate to go indoors, Jean, and have this splendid day end. I
am inclined to believe it's all been a dream. Pinch me and let me see
if I'm really awake."

"Oh, you're awake all right, Elizabeth," said Jean, but she gave
Elizabeth's arm a vigorous pinch to assure her that she really was
awake. "It's only the beginning of a whole summer of splendid days if
you'll only say you'll go with us."

"I'll go, of course," said Elizabeth, "if father thinks it's all
right," and the two girls left the summer moonlight behind them and
climbed the stairs to 45.



                             CHAPTER XVII

                         THE TENNIS TOURNAMENT


It did not take long for a letter to come back to the two girls from
Dr. Fairfax, gladly giving his consent to the proposed plan for the
summer and expressing his gratitude to Jean and her father for giving
so much happiness to his "little girl," as he always called Elizabeth
in spite of the fact that she had long since grown up. Both girls were
highly elated over the prospects of their trip, and for the first few
days could hardly keep their mind on anything else. However, they both
were determined to make the most of the last days of college and each
found her different interests absorbing. Elizabeth had been putting all
her spare time on her extra work in history and Jean hers on the tennis
courts.

Ever since warm weather had made outdoor sports possible, the indoor
gymnasium work had ceased, and the girls athletically inclined
found plenty to interest them out of doors. Ashton could well boast
of its splendid tennis courts directly back of the gymnasium, and
on any pleasant day one would find the courts crowded. Jean had
been out from the first day the courts were ready for use, and was
easily acknowledged to be one of the best players in college--without
a question the best player in the freshman class. Several of the
upper-class girls, among them Natalie Lawton, Madeline Moore, and Avis
Purrington, were working hard and had announced their intentions of
going into the tournament. All along Jean had also secretly determined
to enter, if it were a possible thing, and she wanted to win, too. It
was her last chance to really do something for 1915, freshman year.
The only obstacle that stood in her way was her fear of failure in
French, but when she went to Mlle. Franchant late in May and asked her
concerning her work, her joy knew no bounds when she was told that her
mark was a passing one and she could enter the tournament.

On the night of the twelfth of June, the day before the tournament
began, several of the tennis enthusiasts were down in Natalie Lawton's
room discussing the events of the next day. "What do you think of the
weather, Nat?" said Peggy to her room-mate, who stood at the window,
apparently lost in thought as she gazed out into the dark and cloudy
night.

"Doesn't look very promising, girls, does it? It will be a shame if
it rains. We have had such perfect weather all the month it seems
as though it might last two days longer. The courts are in perfect
condition now and a heavy rain will spoil everything. How's your
courage, Jean? You've drawn first round, haven't you, against Cora
Hammond? I'm in the other court against Avis Purrington. How's your
shoulder to-night?"

"A little lame, Nat," said Jean, "but I'm going to rub it well and turn
in early, for I need the sleep all right. I'm dead to the world. If you
don't mind, I think I'll say good night now, rival. Are any of the rest
of you coming upstairs with me? You all need sleep, so take my advice
and stop eating that candy and get a good night's sleep."

"Well, who ever heard of such nerve?" said Natalie. "The idea of a
little freshie giving advice to us seniors and juniors. But then, I
guess you're right in spite of your age, for I admit I'm tired, too.
Suppose we all follow suit and turn in."

"Good night, girls," called out Peggy. "Good luck to you all, although,
of course, you can't all win the prize. By the way, what is the prize?"

"Why, Peggy," said Natalie disgustedly, "you know perfectly well that
there isn't any prize. It's the honor of the thing. Isn't that enough?"

"Yes," said Peggy; "I'd forgotten about it. Well, 'Happy dreams,'" and
then the girls scattered to their different rooms.

In spite of the gloomy outlook of the weather the night before, the
morning of June twelfth was as perfect as its predecessors had been,
and all that the tennis players could wish for. The preliminaries
were to be played throughout the day, as the programmes of the girls
allowed. On the next morning were to come the semi-finals and in the
afternoon the finals, when excitement always ran highest. About twenty
of the girls had entered the tournament and most of them were speedy
players. There were only two freshmen--and the others upper-class
girls. Although Natalie Lawton had won the championship the year
before, it had been with great difficulty, and her opponent, Madeline
Moore, was all the more anxious to win out this year. Popular sentiment
had picked Natalie Lawton, Madeline Moore, or Jean Cabot as the winner
this year, so it was not at all surprising to the student body as a
whole to learn that at the end of the preliminaries these three and a
hitherto unsuspected sophomore, Mabel Hastings, were to play in the
semi-finals on the following morning. It was rather a coincidence that
each of the four classes should have a representative.

The semi-finals took place at ten o'clock, and there were some of the
hardest sets ever played at Ashton. Jean was playing Mabel Hastings and
won after five sets, 7-5, 1-6, 6-8, 6-3, 6-1 and Natalie Lawton won
from Madeline Moore in three sets, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1; so Natalie and Jean
were left to fight for the finals in the afternoon. Jean was so excited
that she declared she could eat no dinner, and hurried to her room
to lie down and rest until the finals, which were to begin at three
o'clock. Elizabeth carried up her dinner and compelled her to eat all
that she had brought her, knowing how much she needed nourishment after
her violent exercise of the morning. Then Jean lay quietly in her room,
although she could not sleep from excitement, and she waited for the
minutes to pass until it should be half-past two o'clock.

It seemed as though every girl in college had turned out to see the
finals. The early comers had filled the few seats which the ground
afforded; the rest either sat on the grass or stood in little groups
near by. Here and there among the white dresses could be seen the
severely dark clothes of a man, for it was one of the few events to
which the "masculine element" could be invited. This event was followed
so closely by Class Day and Commencement that some of the favorite
brothers or cousins or friends of the seniors were inveigled into
coming a little earlier, ostensibly to witness a tennis tournament, but
in reality to bask a little longer in the sunshine of the Sweet Girl
Graduate.

Promptly on the stroke of three, Jean and Natalie, in their immaculate
white linens, walked coolly out upon the courts and the play began. By
the toss of the racket Jean won the first serving and sent one of her
usual swift balls into the opposite court. Natalie was there to receive
it and sent it back as swiftly as it had come. Both girls seemed very
evenly matched, but Natalie, by deep driving to Jean's backhand, won
the first game. Her luck changed at this point though, and Jean jumped
into the lead of 3-1. Natalie seemed spurred on by this, and by more
hard, deep driving soon had Jean on the run. She played into the net
oftener and with this style of play the lead changed to Natalie at 4-3.
The eighth game was very close. Jean got to 30-40 on Natalie's serve,
but fast driving on Natalie's part won her the game, making the score
5-3 in her favor. Jean won her serve in the next game and even got an
advantage in the tenth, but then the last year's champion rose to the
occasion and by taking a net position, won three successive points and
the first set with a score of 6-4.

There was a rest of fifteen minutes before the second set, and the two
players left the court and retired to the gymnasium. The crowds out
of doors circulated around the grounds, introducing their guests and
talking over the remarkable playing of both girls. At the end of the
fifteen minutes the players returned and, changing courts, began the
second set.

This set was not as close as the first one but was as full of
spectacular playing. Natalie took the net oftener and by splendid
smashing ran the score up to 4-1 in her favor. Weakening a little in
the next game, she failed to return Jean's excellent service, so Jean
took advantage of it and won her second game in the set. This seemed
almost to enrage Natalie, and she went after the last two games in
whirlwind fashion and outplayed Jean in every way, making the final
score of the second set 6-2. It was all over before Jean realized it,
and she had lost, and Natalie had won the college championship for a
second time.

[Illustration: NATALIE WENT AFTER THE LAST TWO GAMES IN WHIRLWIND
FASHION.--_Page 328_.]

She saw the girls hurrying toward Natalie, but she was determined to
be the first to congratulate her, so she dropped her racket and ran as
fast as she could to the spot where the almost exhausted champion had
dropped. "Congratulations, Natalie," she said; "you certainly deserve
the championship, and I'm mighty glad you won it."

All Natalie could say was, "Thank you, Jean, but I hate to take it away
from you, for you wanted it so badly."

"Don't you worry about that," said Jean, smiling bravely. "I've got
three more years to try for it, and you've only one. I'll have it
yet, see if I don't. And I'd rather have you win it than any one else
in college. We kept it from the sophs, anyway, and there's a lot of
consolation in that. I'm monopolizing you, Nat, for all the girls are
waiting to offer you their congratulations. It was splendid; that's
all I've got to say."

Jean had to acknowledge to herself that she was terribly disappointed,
but as soon as she realized she had lost, she decided to make the most
of it and not let any one else see her real feelings in the matter.
She smiled in her most friendly manner to all of the girls who came to
compliment her on her splendid playing, and to offer their sympathy
for her defeat. She was as much surrounded as the real champion and
accepted all of the homage in a most gracious way, although she
secretly longed to be away from it all and alone by herself to have it
out once for all. It was some time before she could leave the girls,
for it was an ideal day to linger out of doors and no one seemed to be
in a hurry to leave the courts. At last she managed to tear herself
away from a gushing freshman and her fond mamma who was visiting Ashton
for the first time, and felt the necessity of seeing everything and
everybody worth while, and started down towards Merton hoping that she
would not be held up again.

She had gone but a little way when she heard some one calling to her
from behind. At first she pretended not to hear, but the calls became
louder and more insistent, so she turned around and saw Anne Cockran
hurrying towards her and waving for her to stop. There was nothing to
do but wait, so she stopped right where she was until Anne caught up
with her.

"I've been looking everywhere for you, Jean. Where have you been? Every
time I got my eye on you on the courts you were completely surrounded
by fond admirers and I couldn't get within ten feet of you. Finally
I got discouraged and went over to talk with Bess Allison and some
friends of hers, and when I left them and looked for you there wasn't a
trace of you anywhere."

"I was held up by that gushing Gladys Norton and her mother, and
thought I never should get away from them, and when I finally managed
to extricate myself I was so tired of people and conversation that I
made a bee-line for Merton."

"Which means," broke in Anne, "that you wish I hadn't butted in to
bother you some more. That's just the reason you didn't stop when I
called to you. Well, cheer up, Jean, I'll not bother you long; I just
wanted to talk to you a few moments, but I'll leave it until another
time if you want me to."

"No, Anne dear, of course not; but it was just because I was tired and
disappointed and felt a little grouchy at every one. You know how you
felt the night of the freshman-sophomore basket-ball game when you
got hurt and couldn't play any more. We both know what it is to be
disappointed, don't we? But I'm better already with just seeing you
this short time, so tell me what you wanted to and I promise you my
undivided attention."

"I wanted to ask you something rather than tell you something, and
I'm just a little afraid to do so. You know room-drawing comes the
day before Class Day and I wanted to know if you had made your plans
for room-mate next year. I want to ask you to live with me. I'm sort
of tired of Merton and perhaps one of us will draw another house and
choose the other for room-mate. I don't want to room with Sallie
another year. She's a dandy girl and we've had a good year together,
but isn't just exactly my style, and then besides, she's a soph and
we are always at swords' points when it comes to class spirit. But
you are just the girl I want. We're in the same class and society and
we like the same things and the same people and we both want to make
basket-ball next year and I'm going in for tennis, too. I've never
played a game in my life, but after to-day's games I wouldn't miss it
for anything. Of course you don't want to room with Elizabeth another
year. She's all nice enough and a fine student, but not at all your
style. She'll probably want a single, anyway, won't she?"

"I don't know, Anne," said Jean very thoughtfully.

"Well, anyway, Jean, it doesn't make any difference to us what she
wants to do, the main thing is that I want to room with you. What have
you to say about it?"

"Why really Anne, I haven't thought anything about next year. I've
been so happy these days with things just as they are that I guess I
thought everything was going on as it is now. When we are contented
we don't want to change, do we? It's awfully nice of you to say that
you want to have me room with you and I appreciate it, but honestly,
Anne, I can't do it. Why, if Elizabeth will have me, I want to go on
rooming with her. I couldn't really stay at college without her. She's
my safety-valve and inspiration and all that sort of thing. She brings
out the best that's in me and I need her more than anything else in the
whole college, and then, besides, I think the world of her. She's the
most lovable girl you can imagine, after you get to know her. I admit
she doesn't go in for clothes and men and good times generally, but
she's clever and she's going to amount to something before she leaves
this place. I haven't asked her yet; but if she's willing I want her
for my room-mate next year, and it doesn't make much difference where
we room. I've grown very fond of Merton, but I'd prefer Wellington
where Miss Hooper lives.

"By the way, I'll tell you a secret. Miss Hooper and Elizabeth and I
are going to travel together this summer in the British Isles. Isn't
that splendid? Now, Anne, please don't be angry with me because I won't
room with you. You see how it is. We can be the same good friends as
ever, can't we, even if we're not room-mates?"

"Yes, I suppose so," said Anne, "but I'm disappointed and I can't get
over it in a minute. I can't understand what you see in Elizabeth; she
seems to have hypnotized you from the very first of the year. She's
all right and sweet and good enough, but I can't understand your awful
crush on her."

"There, there," said Jean, "don't get so excited or you'll be saying
things you'll be sorry for later on. Will you come up to 45 until
supper time? I want to get into some fresh clothes. I feel as though
I'd been through a Turkish bath. Wasn't it frightfully hot in the sun?
It was right in my eyes the last game. Isn't Nat a perfect wonder at
the game?"

"Yes, but so are you, and I was just boiling that you didn't win. You
put up a much better game than she did all through the 'prelims' and
semi-finals; you had all the hardest players up against you, and by the
time you got to the finals you were all tired out. I think you deserve
as much credit as Natalie, even if she did win at the end."

"My goodness, Anne, but you've got it in for everybody this afternoon!
Come upstairs with me and eat some candy and see if that will sweeten
you a little."

"All right, I will, thank you; I haven't had any candy for an age. I'm
dead broke since I bought my Class-Day hat and I don't get another cent
until I go home. I'm afraid I'll even have to borrow some money to
buy my ticket home unless Dad will be favorably impressed by my last
frantic appeal for a little more money."

The girls finished a large box of chocolates, and by supper time Anne
was in a much better mood, although still disappointed because Jean was
not to room with her. When Jean came up from supper that night a little
later than usual she found Elizabeth at her desk writing a letter. She
stole softly up behind her and put her hands over her eyes and called
out, "Guess who's your room-mate next year, Elizabeth."

"Oh, is it you, Jean? I've been wanting all day to ask you about it,
but I didn't quite dare. I heard some of the girls talking about the
room-drawing last night when I was waiting on table, and that was the
first time I knew anything about it. I thought things would go on just
the same every year unless one wanted to change."

"And do you want to change, Elizabeth?"

"No, Jean, but I wasn't so sure about you. There are so many of your
other friends, you know."

"Well, Elizabeth, I'm perfectly satisfied with my present room-mate and
don't intend to change her for any one else. I wish we might room in
Wellington so we could be near Miss Hooper, but wherever we are we'll
be together, won't we? Now I must write a letter to Tom about Class
Day, for he wants to know everything he's expected to do, and if I
don't get the letter mailed in the morning he won't have time to make
any elaborate preparations. Have you any message to send him?"

"Why, no, Jean; I'll save them until I meet him Class Day. Now get to
writing, for it will be ten o'clock before you know it and you must be
tired after your strenuous day."

"Yes, I am tired," said Jean, "but this letter must be written if it
takes till midnight," and she wrote several pages of full particulars
about Class Day to Tom, who was to be her special guest on that day. He
was to take her back with him for Yale Commencement and then see her
safely to New York, where she was to meet Miss Hooper and Elizabeth the
day before sailing.



                             CHAPTER XVIII

                               CLASS DAY


Class Day at Ashton always came on a Friday with Commencement the
following Wednesday, and although the undergraduates were not generally
expected to remain over for the latter event, they all took great
interest in the former and made it the gala day of the year. Each
girl had the privilege of inviting as many guests as she wished, but
it pretty generally narrowed down to one, except in the case of the
graduates who had all their mothers and fathers and brothers and
sisters, uncles and aunts, cousins, and friends to entertain besides
"the one" who generally hung around in the background, endeavoring to
be gracious when the opportunity presented itself.

On the night before Class Day, Jean and Elizabeth were busy in their
room with their clothes for the following day. Jean was not satisfied
with Elizabeth's hat which she had brought out from town that very
afternoon. "Now, Elizabeth, do your hair low as you intend to wear it
to-morrow and let me see what I can do in the way of trimming hats.
I don't like this shape at all the way it is now. It's not at all
becoming, and I want you to look your prettiest to-morrow. The roses
are a beautiful pink, but they want to come down lower on the hat."

While she was talking, Elizabeth had been fixing her hair and had
coiled it low on her neck. "Does that suit your Majesty now? You're
altogether too fussy about my personal appearance. Who do you suppose
will notice me in all the crowd? If I had a man coming over from
Harvard or Yale it would be different, but wandering about by myself no
one will know whether my hair is up or down or whether my hat is the
latest thing from New York or trimmed at home by the country milliner."

"Why, Elizabeth, how can you talk so? Remember Tom is going to be your
guest as well as mine. We three are going to do things together, so
you'd better make up your mind to look your prettiest, for Tom is
mighty particular when it comes to girls. There, your hair looks much
better and the hat fits down closer to your head. I'm going to take off
the bow and put it on the other side after I've put the roses down flat
around the crown. They're too stiff, sticking up in the air. Now look
in the glass and see how you like the effect."

"Oh, it does look ever so much better, Jean. Just stick in some pins
where you want things to go and I'll do the sewing."

"No, you won't; I'm going to finish it. Who says I can't trim hats?"

Just then there came a vigorous knock at the study door. Jean seized
the hat from Elizabeth's head, and still holding it in her hand
hastened out into the other room just as Peggy Allison, acting upon
Jean's cordial, "Come in," entered the room.

"Going into the hat business, Jean? I wish you'd take a look at my
hat. I'm awfully disappointed in it now that I've got it out here. It
doesn't look at all as I expected it would. Guess it will have to do,
though. I haven't time to bother with another. That's the trouble with
waiting until the last moment to do things, but I do hate buying hats
in Boston. What time do you expect Tom, Jean?"

"He's coming over from New York on the midnight, so he'll probably be
out here between ten and eleven o'clock. I told him there was no need
of coming before ten, anyway, and I'll be busy until that time with
our chain, for we have left part of it until morning to finish, as our
daisies gave out. Is your part finished?"

"Yes; we were through about five o'clock and were tired as dogs. Oh, by
the way, Jean, Nat wants to see you a moment about the spread tickets
right away, so I'll excuse you and visit a little while with Elizabeth
if she isn't too busy to talk with me."

"All right, Peggy; I'll go down there this minute and take my hat along
to finish. Beth, please hand me my sewing-bag on the couch. Thank you,"
and then she ran down the stairs with a knowing smile on her face.

About an hour later Jean burst into 45 and found Elizabeth alone.
"Come, Beth, I'm ready to have you try on your hat again. I've finished
it, and when I tried it on Natalie it looked simply stunning. Come over
to the glass where you can see yourself."

As Elizabeth went over to where Jean was standing, Jean caught sight
of a small bow of green ribbon pinned conspicuously on the left side
of Elizabeth's white shirt-waist. "Oh, Elizabeth," she cried, "are
you really pledged to Gamma Chi? It's too good to be true! Now I've
got everything I've wanted. You're to room with me next year, spend
the summer with me in Europe, and be initiated into Gamma Chi when we
return in the fall. I've known all the year that when the girls came
to know you as well as I did, they'd want you to join Gamma Chi, but I
didn't tell them, for it was much better that they should find it out
for themselves. Oh, isn't it splendid! You're my sister now, you know,
forever."

"But, Jean, didn't you know anything about it until just now? You don't
act so awfully surprised."

"Oh, yes; I have known since last society meeting that you were to
be invited to join, but just when I didn't know, for it was Peggy
Allison's duty to ask you. But the minute she came into the room
to-night and kindly invited me to leave, I knew what was about to
happen. Were you surprised yourself and are you pleased?"

"Yes, Jean; I was surprised, but it's only one more of the things I
thought could never happen to me. It seemed all right that you and the
other girls should do them, but I seemed different from you all. I am
glad to join, for I've wanted to go with you on the Monday nights when
you went to society. You society girls always seemed better friends
than those outside, and I felt I was missing something. I can't see,
though, why they should want me to join."

"Well, I shan't tell you again, for fear of making you too conceited.
It's enough to know that they do want you, and now you're to become
a good, loyal member of Gamma Chi. Oh, you must wear your ribbon
all day to-morrow. It will show off nicely on your white dress. Is
there anything else I can do to help you? We mustn't leave anything
until to-morrow, for there's so much to be done then. Directly after
breakfast you must go up to the gym to help finish our daisy-chain. I'm
going out before breakfast to help gather more daisies, so if I don't
get back in time to eat breakfast, just save me a roll and a glass of
milk. Tom will arrive on that half-past ten train, probably, and I must
meet him, for he doesn't know anything about the Hill."

"Do you suppose he'll get lost, Jean, if you don't happen to meet him?
What makes you take the time to go to the train?"

"Why, do you suppose I'd let him come all that distance without meeting
him? What are you thinking about, Elizabeth?"

"Well, don't try to do too much to-morrow, for you've got to save some
strength for your week at New Haven. Tom, being so particular about
girls, will want his sister to look her prettiest, especially as she's
to be the solitary representative of his large family. There's the
bell! Hadn't we better stop talking and go to bed?"

"Yes, Beth, I suppose so; but I'm not a bit sleepy to-night. I could
sit up till midnight and just talk. You go to bed. I think I'll just
read a little more of this story and perhaps I'll get sleepy."

"Oh, don't read any more, Jean; you'll be sleepy enough after you once
get into bed. It's excitement that makes you feel so wide awake."

"All right, dear, I'll do as you say. You see I do need you to make me
take care of myself," and the two happy but tired girls were soon in
their beds and asleep.

Jean had set the alarm clock for half-past five o'clock, and dressing
in some old clothes started for the field back of the dormitories where
it was white with daisies. She was chairman of the committee to make
the daisy-chain, and was anxious that it be a success. She found four
of the other girls ahead of her filling great baskets which they had
brought for the purpose. After they had picked all they could possibly
carry they went up to the gymnasium and began weaving the chain. When
they arrived, it was long after the breakfast hour, but one girl, more
thoughtful than the others, had brought a box or two of crackers and so
saved her starving companions. More girls arrived every few minutes,
and all worked hard, so that they were able to finish the long chain
about half-past nine o'clock. They looked much the worse for wear and
their dresses were wet and stained from the flowers, and Jean's hair
was fast coming down round her face and neck. Her dress was badly torn
in the front where she had stepped upon it in her haste to get into the
gymnasium.

As she and Elizabeth and Anne were hurrying down the Row to Merton,
Anne, looking down toward the station, spied a young man coming in
their direction, with a suit-case in his hand. "Here comes some one's
man," she said. "Hope he's early enough. Evidently some one forgot to
meet him."

"Why, girls," exclaimed Jean, "there's something strangely familiar
about him. I do believe it's my brother Tom. He must have taken an
earlier train than I wrote him about. What a sight I am to meet him!
I had planned to dress in my very best and go down to the ten-thirty
train, and here I am looking more like a tramp than anything else. It
is Tom, and I can't help how I look; I'm going to meet him," and she
ran down the Row and was soon in her brother's arms, while the other
girls hurried into the dormitory away from sight.

"Oh, Tom, I'm so glad to see you! Don't look at me. I'm ashamed to have
you find me like this, but I've been working since six o'clock on our
daisy-chain. I didn't expect you for another hour. What do you mean by
coming out at this time of day?"

"Well, sister, you see I got in town very early this morning and didn't
have a thing to do after I finished my breakfast. Time began to hang
heavily on my hands, and then, too, I wanted to see you, so I came out
here on the first train I could get, but I'll go back if you are so
disturbed at my early arrival."

"Of course I was only fooling, Tom; don't get so sarcastic. I'm
delighted that you're here, only I'm a little ashamed to have you find
me in such messy-looking clothes. But let's not stand here on the Row
talking. Come up to the Hall. I'll find Peggy Allison and send her
downstairs to talk with you while I get into some good clothes. I have
a room engaged for you down at the Inn and we'll go down there before
lunch. Peggy's going to have a Harvard man out to-day and we've planned
that you two will be together during the exercises this afternoon, for
we have to sit with our classes.

"Before I forget it, Tom, I want to ask you to be particularly nice to
Elizabeth. She's never known many college boys and didn't invite any
one to be her guest to-day. I told her you were going to be her guest
as well as mine, so please help me give her a royal good time. She's a
mighty nice girl after you get to know her. At first she's a bit shy,
but when you get her interested in something she's as lively as the
next one. She's been invited to join Gamma Chi, and that shows she's
all right, for only the nicest girls in college belong to that society."

"Isn't that a little conceited, Jean, considering the fact that you
belong to it yourself? However, if you and Peggy Allison are samples
of the girls who are members, it's all right.

"So this is Merton, the famous Merton. I call it a pretty fine sort of
dormitory for a girls' college, of course not to be compared with ours,
but rather decent, just the same. Are you going to live here next year,
too?"

"No; you see we had room-drawing yesterday and my name commencing with
'C' comes near the top of the list and I drew a room in Wellington
where Miss Hooper is matron."

"I suppose because you're a soph you've chosen a single."

"No, Tom, I've a double, and Elizabeth is going to room with me again
next year and every year, I hope. After you know her you'll understand
why I want her. Now go into the reading-room and make yourself
comfortable and I'll see if I can find Peggy and send her down to you."

"Don't worry, Jean. I don't have to be amused. I'm perfectly able to
take care of myself if you don't find her."

But Peggy was available and perfectly willing to devote herself to Tom
Cabot, of whom she was very fond in spite of the few times she had
met him. About half an hour later Jean and Elizabeth came downstairs
dressed in their soft white muslins and flower-bedecked hats. They
did look attractive and Tom beamed approvingly upon them and was most
gracious as Jean introduced Elizabeth. Then she said, "Now we'll go
down to the Inn and then we're ready to show you the sights. You've got
to see everything while you are about it, so we'd better hurry, for
lunch is to be served half an hour earlier than usual to-day."

They went to the Inn and found it thronged with guests and students
and it was very fortunate for Tom that Jean had engaged his room
several weeks in advance. After he had deposited his suit-case they
started out on their tour of inspection. Tom kept the girls busy with
questions about everything in sight, and insisted upon knowing the name
of every good-looking girl they met. Once in a while they stopped for
introductions, and dropped into Miss Hooper's room in Wellington for a
few moments.

"It's a mighty nice place, for a girls' college," said Tom as they
finally entered Merton just as the bell sounded for lunch; "there's
only one place I know of that's better and that's--"

"Yale, of course," said Jean; "you needn't bother to tell us. Are you
ready for lunch now?"

"Ready! I should say I was; I'm nearly starved. I could eat half a
dozen lunches. It's hours since I had my breakfast. Lead me to the
food quickly or I perish. Am I going to be the only man among all you
handsome girls? Not that I mind at all, but I'd like to know beforehand
so I won't make any awful breaks to disgrace forever the House of
Cabot."

"Don't worry, Tom; there'll be plenty of men besides you. Most of the
girls will have their out-of-town guests here. Elizabeth is to wait
on table, but we'll see her again after lunch. I've got to find Mrs.
Thompson to see where we are to sit, for we won't have our regular
seats to-day, as lunch is to be served in the reading-room as well as
in the dining-room."

Lunch over, a lot of the young people met in the hall and introductions
were pretty general. Peggy's man, Mr. Paul Thorndike, Harvard 1912, and
Tom became good friends at once and agreed to stick together closer
than brothers until the Tree Exercises were over, when the girls were
to meet them and take them to the spreads. They strolled up the hill to
the trees where the exercises were to be held, and found the grounds
fairly alive with the Class-Day guests in their best summer gowns and
hats. Beyond the space allotted for the classes were rows upon rows of
settees for as many of the guests as could be accommodated, and the
others leaned up against the chapel or College Hall or walked back and
forth in the background.

Just after two o'clock the three lower classes appeared in view
carrying a long white daisy-chain. The band, concealed behind the
trees, began to play softly, and at the sound of the music the girls
swayed back and forth, lifting their chain in the measure of the music
and then danced in and out of the trees and finally formed two long
lines on either side of the opening to the space roped off for the tree
exercises. The chain was held high above their heads, and all at once
every voice broke into "Alma Mater" and the stately seniors in their
black caps and gowns marched down between the rows of girls and stood
by the seats nearest the "Grand Old Elm," as the tree was called, under
whose branches the temporary platform had been erected. Then the other
classes dropped their chain upon the ground and marched two by two to
their places. They had been singing "Alma Mater" all this time and when
every girl stood by her seat all finished the verse they were upon and
sat down together.

There was an address of welcome by the class president and then the
tree oration, followed by the class history, which was extremely funny
from beginning to end and boasted of all 1912 had done in her four
glorious years at Ashton, and ended with the distribution of gifts to
the undergraduates. There were class songs and class yells, and after
the senior class ode the Class-Day marshal proposed that they cheer
all the buildings. Forming as they had done at the beginning of the
exercises, the under-class girls cheered the seniors as they passed
through the double lines and headed the long procession that hurried on
from one building to another. Not one was forgotten, and many a throat
ached when they finished and disbanded at the chapel steps. Each girl
then hastened to find her guests and go on to the society and private
spreads which were to be held in the society rooms and some of the
college buildings.

"Did you think we would never finish?" said Jean, as she and Elizabeth
and Peggy hastened up where Tom and Mr. Thorndike were leaning against
College Hall.

"No," said Tom; "I enjoyed every moment. You've sure got some clever
girls in this college. That was one of the best tree orations I ever
listened to. Please introduce me to Miss Mary Frances Buffington. I'd
like to talk with her. What's next on the programme?"

"We're going now to Gamma Chi spread in our club rooms, then after
you've eaten all you can there, I've tickets for the Alpha Delt spread
and the Tennis Club spread in the gym, and Madeleine Moore has invited
us to a private spread in her room over in South. Of course we don't
have to take them all in, but I think it will be loads of fun, for
everywhere we go we will meet different people, to say nothing of the
eats, which of course will appeal to Tom more than anything else. I
propose for once to see if I can satisfy him on that score."

At all the spreads they found food and interesting people in
abundance and laughed and talked and made and renewed acquaintances
to their hearts' content. Every one was gay and happy and filled
with the college spirit and was young at heart if not in years.
Fathers and mothers and even grandparents mingled with young girls
and men and seemed to be as much a part of it all as their sons and
daughters. Where is there another place in the world so productive of
good-fellowship and joy as a college class day?

From Madeleine Moore's upper room, where they went last, they sat by
the windows and listened to the Glee Club singing the old college
favorites. Old girls who were back for the day joined the singers on
College Hall steps and swelled the chorus to two or three times its
usual size. Every now and then the tinkle of the mandolins and guitars
could be heard above the sweet voices of the girls and then was lost in
the heavier choruses. It was almost dusk when the last notes died away
and there still remained the dance in the gymnasium.

Tom left Jean and Elizabeth at Merton to dress for the dance, and
he hurried to the Inn to get into his dress-suit. When the three
strolled across the campus again in the direction of the gym, a perfect
fairyland met their astonished eyes. Thousands of bright Japanese
lanterns were strung about the entire grounds and swayed gently back
and forth in the soft summer breeze. Here and there were the moving
forms of belated dancers like themselves, moving mysteriously through
the semi-darkness.

"I hate to leave such beauty," said Elizabeth. "I don't care anything
about the dancing, so why not leave me here on one of these benches,
Jean? You and Tom can go in and dance and stop for me when you come
home."

"Well, I should say not," answered Tom. "Haven't you promised me part
of the first dance and as many more as I want? Do you think we're
going to leave you here for some prowling night-watchman to abduct?
No, you've got to stay with us till the very last moment and perhaps
between some of the dances we'll stroll out here for a cool breath."

When they finally reached the gymnasium, they found it literally packed
with dancers, but they waded their way through the crowds, and Tom
began the dance with Elizabeth, for Paul Thorndike had noticed Jean's
entrance and begged her for the dance. It was not much pleasure for any
one, as there was so little room that one was continually stepped on or
crowded against a passing couple.

"I think about half an hour of this will be enough for me, Jean," said
Tom, after the first dance. "I'm as fond as anybody can be of dancing,
but this is too much for me. Let's go up in the gallery and watch the
others."

So up they went into the gallery and watched the whirling mass below
them. It was much more fun, and many of their friends followed suit
and joined them. Occasionally some of them went down on the floor,
but returned almost exhausted with the struggle. About half-past ten
o'clock, Elizabeth suggested that they take her home if they would not
let her go alone, and she found Tom and Jean were both as ready to go
as she.

When they stepped out into the fairyland of the campus, Jean exclaimed,
"I agree with you, Elizabeth; this is much better than in that crowded,
stifling gymnasium. Let's walk around out here for a while until we
cool off."

It was beautiful out there in the cool stillness with only the muffled
music breaking it occasionally, and all three became strangely silent
for such very talkative young people. Jean broke the silence by
exclaiming, "I know now what Cousin Nan meant that first night when she
and I stood just here and she said, 'Dear Old Ashton! How I love it
all and how I hate to leave it, for it has done so much for me!' Then I
couldn't understand what she meant and I smiled to myself as I listened
to her, but now it's different and I can say all that she said, only
I'm so glad I am coming back next year, and the next, and the next, for
three whole years. This going to college is the best thing in a girl's
life, isn't it, Elizabeth?"

By this time they had reached Merton and good-nights had to be said,
but Tom and Jean were to take an early morning train and had all the
day to talk things over.

Although it was very early when the train drew out of the little
station, Elizabeth was there to see the two off, and as the train
started, Jean called from the platform, "Good-by, Beth, see you in New
York a week from to-day. Don't let Miss Hooper lose the train, for you
know she has all our tickets and we can't go to Europe without her.
Good-by!" and the train steamed away as a very happy freshman started
back to Merton to think things over.

It may be that some of the readers have become so interested in the
doings of Jean and Elizabeth that they would like to know what they and
Miss Hooper did during the summer of 1912 in the British Isles. For the
benefit of these it may be stated that a second volume, entitled "Jean
Cabot in the British Isles," will appear, giving their experiences in
that delightful country.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

    The spelling and punctuation of the original have been preserved.

    Obvious punctuation errors and misprints have been corrected.

    Blank pages have been deleted.

    The third sentence of Chapter XV has been retained as it appears in
    the original publication.





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