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

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


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

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

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Greycliff Wings" ***

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



produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)



Greycliff Wings



[Illustration:
  “Listen, girls,” said Pauline, “there’s the plane right over us.”

  “The Nighthawk,” said Isabel. “Why, there’s something the matter;
  it’s coming down!”
]



GREYCLIFF WINGS

By HARRIET PYNE GROVE

Author of
  “Cathalina at Greycliff,” “The Girls of Greycliff,”
  “The Greycliff Girls in Camp,” “Greycliff Heroines.”

A. L. BURT COMPANY

Publishers, New York



THE RADIO BOYS SERIES

A SERIES OF STORIES FOR BOYS OF ALL AGES

By GERALD BRECKENRIDGE

  The Radio Boys on the Mexican Border
  The Radio Boys on Secret Service Duty
  The Radio Boys with the Revenue Guards
  The Radio Boys Search for the Inca’s Treasure
  The Radio Boys Rescue the Lost Alaska Expedition
  The Radio Boys Seek the Lost Atlantis
  The Radio Boys In Darkest Africa

Copyright, 1923

By A. L. BURT COMPANY

THE RADIO BOYS IN DARKEST AFRICA

Made in “U. S. A.”



CHAPTER I: A SENIOR PICNIC AND WHITE WINGS


Deepest of sapphire skies, freshest of air, most sparkling of lake
waters greeted the senior collegiates, dignified by their position at
the head of the school, on their first picnic of the year. By ones,
twos, threes and more, they added to the company which sought seats upon
the dancing _Greycliff_, freshly painted during the summer, the black
letters of the name showing clearly against a pearl-grey side. The
starry-eyed Eloise Winthrop, her dark locks done up in a new way, looked
prettier than ever, as she stood up and waved wildly to Cathalina Van
Buskirk and Lilian North, who were just climbing into the launch.

“This way, girls!” she called. “Here’s Betty,—and Hilary and Pauline!”

“Cathalina and Lilian are getting to look like sisters,” said Pauline.

“It is more their manner,” said Eloise, “and Lilian dresses more like
Cathalina now that she lives in New York. Their features are not alike.
Lilian’s look like a cameo. How much older she looks with her hair up,
in that way too. Cathalina is still our little dreamer,—isn’t she
lovely!”

“Being engaged had made Lilian seem older,” said Pauline. “I noticed it
last year when she came back after Christmas, even before she wore her
ring. Where _is_ Cathalina’s brother now? Do you know, Hilary?”

“Yes. He and his cousin, Campbell Stuart, and Robert Paget, Philip’s
other chum, have all been sent to a Southern camp to train recruits.
They are lieutenants or something. You know they were at a military
school before they went to the university for their last years.”

“Ah, Hilary Lancaster,—I might have known that you would know all about
it. There’s Helen Paget now. Robert is her cousin, isn’t he?”

“Yes, Miss Tracy,” replied Hilary, pretending to be distant because of
Pauline’s implied reference to Hilary’s interest in Campbell Stuart.

Lilian and Cathalina had stopped to chat a moment with Isabel Hunt and
Virginia Hope, two juniors, who had come down to the beach to see them
off. The sun fell on Lilian’s gold locks and Cathalina’s light brown
ones as they leaned over the side of the boat talking. Neither girl wore
a hat, but each had a silk scarf around her neck to tie over flying hair
if the wind proved too troublesome.

“Why didn’t we have a senior-junior affair, Isabel,” Lilian was saying,
“So you and Virgie could come along?”

“Couldn’t overload the _Greycliff_,” replied Isabel. “Now if it looks
like a storm don’t start back in a hurry,” warned she. “I don’t want to
walk the floor the way I did two years ago on the night of the wreck!”

“No danger, is there, Mickey,” replied Cathalina, looking at the
ubiquitous and efficient Mickey, who was stowing away various
impedimenta in the little cabin of the _Greycliff_. Mickey was still the
chief life-saver and mainstay of Greycliff school in more lines than
one.

“The weather’s goin’ to be foine,” replied Mickey, without much
enthusiasm, for he was used to the ways of girls. “And oime goin’ meself
this trip.”

“Thanks, Mickey. An awful load is off my mind. Goodbye, girls, have a
good time.”

“Sit here, Cathalina and Lilian, do!” invited Juliet Howe and Helen
Paget, as the girls passed them, and pointed to two seats near.

“Yes, do,” seconded Diane Percy, moving along to make room.

“Aren’t you nice—” said Cathalina patting Diane’s red cheeks lightly as
she edged her way on, “but the girls are saving seats for us, you see.
How does it happen that you are not with your room-mates?” she
continued, looking at Juliet and Helen.

“O, we thought that Pauline and Eloise needed a rest,” said Juliet, with
a laugh. “We still speak to each other, however.”

There had been some changes in the matter of room-mates, but the
personnel of “Lakeview Suite,” so long the headquarters of Hilary
Lancaster, Betty Barnes, Cathalina Van Buskirk and Lilian North, was
unchanged. The neighboring suite, occupied by Juliet and Pauline, Eloise
and Helen, had also earned a name, but the girls were as yet uncertain
what to call it, though as Pauline said it was high time they called it
something before their last year at Greycliff should be over. When they
were making out their schedules of study for the year, Eloise had
suggested that it be called the “Labor Union,” but that name was
scornfully rejected as not inspirational enough. As Helen was now
president of the Psyche Club, Cathalina had suggested that the suite be
called the Olympic Portal, or O. P., and while the girls had also
rejected this name, she and Betty sometimes referred to the suite as the
“O. P.”

Cathalina and Lilian finally settled themselves, Cathalina by Betty,
still her room-mate, and Lilian by Eloise, for Lilian had brought her
guitar and hastened to get it out of its case. Eloise was already
strumming upon her ukulele, and rose to look around for anyone else who
had one. But the other girls had either forgotten their instruments or
had not wanted to bother with them.

“Start ’em off, Hilary,” said Lilian to her room-mate. “I can’t lead and
play too, and neither can Eloise.”

Hilary obediently started the Greycliff songs and some of the war songs
so popular then, for the girls never started anywhere upon the water
without singing. “The Long, Long Trail,” “Tipperary,” and “Keep the Home
Fires Burning,” followed in due order after the Greycliff songs, and
Eloise and Lilian sang “I May Be Gone For a Long, Long Time,” which
Lilian had brought with her from New York. It was comparatively new to
the girls, but one after the other joined, as the catchy tune was
supplemented by the chords and “plunks” of guitar and ukulele. Lilian
was in a gay humor, for she had just received a bright letter from Phil,
who complained that he supposed he would be kept training in this
country till the end of the war, but told of many funny experiences, and
the fact that he might be in America for some time to come was of much
relief to both Lilian and Cathalina.

“Why, where are you _going_, Mickey?” asked one of the girls in
surprise, as she saw that they were going out in the open lake far
beyond where they usually turned toward the famous old “Island.” This
could now be seen at their left in the distance.

“Oi have a surprise fur ye,” said Mickey, turning the wheel a little.
“Wait a minute an’ ye can see a little flag on the shore. The trustees
has bought a new playground for ye, where there ain’t no rocks.”

Great surprise and pleasure was evident on the faces of all the girls
who could hear what Mickey said, and the word was passed around to the
others. They all watched with interest, while the boat chugged on,
several miles further on, and then turned nearer shore, toward a sandy
beach and a new dock. As they approached, several gulls which had been
perching there spread their wings and flew away. “Oh,” exclaimed Lilian,
“this ought to be called ‘White Wings.’ Look at the terns fishing out
there!”

“It does seem to be a regular feeding place for the birds,” said Hilary
with great interest. “Of course, the wings are not all white, really,”
she added.

“But they look so,” insisted Lilian. “Have they named the place,
Mickey?”

“No, m’am, not as I know of,” replied Mickey.

“I’ll write it up, then, for the _Greycliff Star_,” said Lilian who, as
chief editor this year was always looking for “copy,”—“and call it
‘White Wings,’ and perhaps the name will stick to it.”

Carefully the _Greycliff_ was docked and the girls helped carry the
lunch ashore, hurrying toward a pretty little summer house which Mickey
pointed out to them. It stood back among the trees and was screened,
with a floor and picnic tables.

“Hurrah!” exclaimed Betty, “no mosquitoes or bugs at our meals.
Blessings on the Greycliff trustees!”

“Let’s ask Miss Perin about it,” suggested Hilary. “She did not look the
least bit surprised when Mickey was telling about it, and has probably
heard all about it at faculty meeting.”

“All right,” replied Betty,—“isn’t it the funniest thing not to have
Miss West for chaperone? We always used to ask for her. I had the shock
of my life not to find her here.”

“Our dear ‘Patty’ is getting married about now, I suppose,” said Hilary.
“Dr. Norris, I mean Lieutenant Norris, was to have leave of absence and
they were to be married this week. But Patty is coming back here as soon
as he leaves for France.”

“When will that be?”

“Nobody knows.”

“There is Miss Perin now. Ask her, Hilary.”

The girls joined their young chaperone, who was taking Miss West’s
place, with English and Latin classes, at Greycliff.

“Yes,” Miss Perin replied, in answer to Hilary’s question, “this is a
farm which was willed to Greycliff and they came into possession of it
this past summer. The beach was so fine that they decided to make a new
picnic place for the girls of the school, and they rented the farm to a
man who is supposed to keep an eye on this part of the grounds as well.
They say that they were able to secure a real scientific farmer to run
the place because he wanted to experiment with a hydroplane here. He has
one or two helpers that are very good and the trustees got him for a
very reasonable price to furnish certain things to the school. It gives
him a convenient market, too.”

The girls scattered about the beautiful place to see what was there. The
“picnic grounds” proper were out upon a point or peninsula where the
little screened house had been erected, with a small boat house and
another building which proved to be an ice house. Easy enough was it to
get a supply of ice to last over the summer. Grounds stretched out to
left and right toward the lake, and on the right hand was a little bay,
an ideal place for the experiments with hydroplanes. Another small dock
was here.

Leaving the picnic point behind, the girls crossed a little road to the
farm proper, where the usual farm-house and other buildings were
located. There seemed to have been an old log house as the original
home. This stood back upon a rise of ground, while some distance to the
side and front of it was a modern farm-house, a large barn and silo
still further over. Back of the bay were open fields. A vineyard of
well-trained grape-vines was on a slope and stretched for quite a
distance. A big orchard and a pretty stretch of woodland attracted the
bird lovers, who ran up the slope to investigate.

Betty and Cathalina were together. Although Lilian loved Cathalina
dearly, and for Phil’s sake now as well as her own, still Hilary, her
room-mate, was her chief confidante whenever they were within reach of
each other. And Hilary had visited Lilian during the summer, enjoying a
little of the time with her own as yet undeclared lover, Campbell
Stuart, cousin to Cathalina and Philip Van Buskirk. It was plain to all
what Campbell thought of Hilary, but he thought that she should be free
until after the war. Lilian and Philip, on the other hand, were openly
engaged, and by common consent were permitted to enjoy each other’s
society in the few days they had together. The Norths had moved further
out, for the judge felt too cramped in the apartment to which they had
first moved when they went to New York.

Both Lilian and Hilary were lingering near the bay to discuss matters
pertaining to their future, while Cathalina suggested to Betty that they
go through the rows of vines to reach the woods. They did so, but paused
to listen to a wren song. “That’s a Bewick wren, Cathalina,” said Betty.
“Take the glass and see if you can find him.”

Betty handed the glass to Cathalina, and turning, saw a man who was
tying up one of the vines and had turned to look at her. Betty caught a
flashing look of recognition and then the man’s back was quickly turned.
Betty was instinctively on guard, and in even tones continued her low
conversation with Cathalina. “Do you get it, Cathalina?”

“Yes, Betty. _You_ look now. It is on that low bush. See?”

The girls satisfied themselves in regard to the wren and went on up the
slope toward the old log house, on whose step they sat down to look over
the whole place with their field glass, for they had decided that one
was enough to bring on a picnic.

Betty glanced around to see if any one was within hearing. “I’ve
something to tell you,” she said. “Did you notice the man that was tying
up the vines as we came along?”

“Why, yes, I believe I did see somebody, one of the hands, I suppose.”

“Yes, and he gave me the funniest look and hurried to turn his back on
us. Now where have I seen those flashing eyes before? I certainly
haven’t any acquaintances like that!”

“You have had some queer experiences, Bettina, for a timid little lady
like yourself. Think of your friend Captain Holley.”

“I have it, Cathalina. Your suggestion fits. This is one of the men in
that boat, way back in our second year at Greycliff, there at that place
where afterwards Isabel and I heard somebody in the cave, you know, and
then saw Captain Holley come out, and the men carried away the box. You
remember that we went there once with Patty last year, but didn’t see
anything and were afraid to investigate much.”

“Oh yes. You and Isabel told Dr. Norris or somebody about it, but I
guess nobody thought much about it.”

“Everybody had too much to do. Do you suppose Captain Holley is still at
the military school? He’s an ‘enemy alien’ now.”

“Yes, he is there. Louise is back, you know, and I heard her say that
her brother was coming over to dinner with her Sunday. Louise is a lot
nicer to the girls than she used to be, and I heard her say that she was
very unhappy to think that her country and her adopted country were at
war.”

“Oh, well, let’s not think about them!”

“I suppose this man is some one who lives around here. But it is funny
that he did not want you to look at him. It looks as if there were
something out of the way going on, that time at the cave.”

“It does indeed! Isn’t there a pretty view from here? There come Hilary
and Lil. Let’s go on to the woods. The birds are in the fall migration
now, perhaps we’ll find something different. Think of it, Cathalina,
only one more beautiful spring here! Do you suppose we’ll like it as
well at college?”

“It will be different. I don’t believe any place could be to us what
dear old Greycliff has been. I can’t realize yet that we are seniors.
Wouldn’t it be fine if they would add the two more years of a college
course?”

“They don’t want that kind of a school here. Have you any idea where you
will go?”

“Yes, in New York, but whether I get right into Columbia or not I don’t
know. Perhaps I’ll just take what I want. But mother wants me there. She
pretty nearly kept me at home this time. It is hard on her, you know,
with Philip away at camp. But Aunt Katherine was strong for having me
finish up this course here, and Father said, ‘Your Aunt Knickerbocker’s
idea of sending Cathalina to Greycliff worked out pretty well’!”

“He usually calls her that, doesn’t he?”

“Yes. Then Aunt Katherine reminded Mother that she would be head over
heels—she didn’t say that—in war work, and Mother is on about forty
committees more or less, so it was decided.”

“How about little Cathalina? Didn’t she have any voice in the matter?”

“Yes indeed. But I thought if Mother really needed me I would stay
without a word. I’ve been so upset in plans myself, as all of us have
been, and I thought I’d like to be where I’d see Phil if he is sent over
very soon. But they are to telegraph, and Lilian and I will go on. And
say, Betty, the last letter I had from Captain Van Horne said that it
will not be very long until the Rainbow Division goes over.”

“Is he with that?”

“Yes.”

“Does he write often?”

“Oh, no, not so very often,—not like Lilian and Phil, or Hilary and
Campbell. By the way, what was it you told me about Donald Hilton? I’ve
been on such a rush ever since we began school that I have a lot of
confused impressions about different things.”

“Donald joined the marines! I never was so surprised.”

“Why, did he know anything about the navy?”

“Not a thing, but it seems he always has been crazy about ships and
things. You must read some of his letters,—they are so interesting.”

“I’d love to, if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, I always tell you anything flattering that he says in them anyway.
Do you ever hear from Bob Paget, or Lawrence Haverhill?”

“Yes, both boys have written since I came here. Lawrence is in a
different camp, it seems, and is sorry not to be with the other boys.”

“That was such a lovely house-party that we had last year, just a year
ago, after camp.”

“The next one will probably be for Lil’s wedding, after the war.”

“_Lil’s_ wedding?—and you Phil’s sister!”

“Yes, the wedding is chiefly the bride’s, I guess. I wish I had another
brother or cousin for you, Betty, though the future Admiral Hilton
wouldn’t thank me for that, I suppose. But to have you ’way off in
Chicago!”

“Don’t you think that we are going ahead just a little too fast,
Cathalina?”

“I guess we are, especially if the war lasts for years and years!”

“Donald says it can’t after he and the other boys from Grant Academy get
over there! He is always joking that way.”

“I wonder where the farm ends,” said Cathalina, looking through the
woods which seemed to stretch endlessly along the bluff above the shore.

“We’d better not go too far. I don’t see Hilary and Lilian now. Let’s go
back. That looks like another shack or cabin ahead of us. Perhaps it
belongs to some other farm.”

The girls retraced their steps, finding other girls strolling about, and
joining some of them to go where some fine stock was grazing. Betty
leaned over a fence to snap some pictures of the cattle. “Nice old
bossies,” she said. “I guess this place is where that grand cream we’re
having now comes from. Come on, let’s get the farmer to pose for us with
some of the horses, or the family, if they, want to.”

“There isn’t any family there yet, but the tenants live back in that
little bit of a house. See?” Eloise was pointing as she spoke. “And it’s
no use to ask the farmer. Some of the girls did, and he acted as if he
were mad about it. I don’t believe he likes to have the girls come here.
Listen! That’s the dinner bell. Doesn’t it make you think of
Merry-meeting Camp?”

“Where do we have our lunch?—O, yes, of course, in the little summer
house they made on purpose. Say, Eloise, wouldn’t it be fun to snap the
farmer when he wasn’t looking? Where is he?” Betty was looking all
around to find the new farmer of whom she had had a glimpse as they went
up to the wood. “He’s such a straight, fine-looking man that he would
make a good picture for our memory books, if we could get him with a
good background of the woods and lake, or the vineyard, or some of the
pretty surroundings here.”

“He doesn’t look as if hard work had broken him down, does he?” said
Diane.

“No, he doesn’t,” said Betty. “I tell you, some of you girls stop and
talk to him, and I’ll get behind some bushes or something and watch for
a good chance to snap him. There he is now, bringing out that handsome
black horse from the barn. Come on.”

The black horse was restive, and Betty, hurrying on, caught an excellent
picture of both horse and man, while the farmer was too busy with the
horse to observe anything else. When he did observe her and her camera
he took pains to keep his face turned away.

“Funny folks around here,” remarked Betty to Cathalina. “One man does
not want to be seen at all, and another can’t bear to have his picture
taken and doesn’t like girls much, I guess. Now I must get a picture of
the beach and some of the birds, if Lilian is going to call the place
White Wings. I wonder if they won’t let the seniors name it. I suppose
that shed or something down there is where the hydroplane is. Wouldn’t
it be wonderful if we could get that, too. Perhaps we can when it’s
finished.”

“And name it White Wings, too,” suggested Eloise.

“Some of the girls started to peek in a while ago, and the crossest man,
worse than the farmer, told them that they weren’t to come around there
at all.”

“I imagine it upsets them to have us all over the place like this,” said
Cathalina, “but they’ll get used to it, unless they make a rule that
picnic parties have to keep to the picnic ground. But the girls were
told not to break off any of the fruit or do anything ‘destructive’ and
I don’t think any of the senior girls would. My, Diane, do you see that
wonderful basket of grapes that man is carrying across the road for us!”

“Who wouldn’t be a senior girl at Greycliff Farm?” inquired Eloise of
the squirrels or birds or anybody who happened to be listening, as they
hurried to the little summer house.

“Really, this is the best part of the place for us,” said Hilary. “There
isn’t a better beach anywhere along than this, and about two or three
o’clock we can have a fine swim. Have you noticed the swings and seats
in that grassy spot under those old trees?—over in that direction. I’m
going to get out my knitting as soon as lunch is over and go there to
rest my bones.”

“I didn’t bring my knitting,” said Betty, “but have a good story, one
that I bought to read on the train, but didn’t read it there, nor have I
had any time since. If you like I can read aloud a while. I move that we
offer resolutions of thanks to whoever got up all these things.”

“Miss Randolph thought it up, I imagine,” said Lilian. “She hasn’t liked
the Island very well, though I suppose they will go there sometimes
still.”

“The Island is very romantic,” said Helen Paget, in her pretty Southern
way. “There is the cave, you know, and the rocks, and the place where
the water rushes through. I’m glad we had it.”

“Speaking of caves,” said Diane, “you girls never took me to that one
you told such wonderful tales about last year. Didn’t you and Isabel,
Betty, explore one the year that I wasn’t at Greycliff?”

“We didn’t exactly explore it,” replied Betty. “We must go there before
it gets cold. As senior girls, we ought to be able to get permission to
go beyond the place where the breakwater is.”

“In boats?”

“O, no; just around the cliffs toward Greycliff Heights, you know, where
all those big rocks are. But I want to have a lot of the girls along.”

Fruit and rich cream were the chief contributions of the farm to the
lunch of the seniors. Sandwiches and other good things had been brought
from the school. After the lunch, the girls really rested for some time.
Senior days are strenuous at times, with many activities and the home
stretch of studies, and a day of freedom from lessons is welcomed.

The sun was warm when the girls splashed in the cool waters, swimming
out as far as Mickey permitted, or diving from the new diving board.

It was not until the girls were gathering up their different belongings,
as the _Greycliff_ approached the school dock, that Betty missed her
camera. “I thought you had it, Cathalina,” she said. “Didn’t you tell me
that you would look after it?”

“Yes, I did, but when I went to the place you said you left it, it
wasn’t there, and I thought you had taken it after all. You were on the
boat first, you know.”

After all the girls were out of the _Greycliff_, the two girls searched
the boat, in the hope that some one had seen the camera and brought it,
but no camera was there.

“It’s the funniest thing, Cathalina,” said Betty, as they walked up
toward the Hall. “I put it right with Lilian’s guitar and Eloise’s
ukulele when I said I’d help Miss Perin carry some of her things to the
boat, and it wasn’t five minutes after that when you went to get it.”

“Yes, I told you I would, when you passed Hilary and me and said if one
of us would bring your camera you wouldn’t have to come back. Then when
I went into the summer house to get it, there wasn’t a thing in the
whole place but the guitar and the uke. I even looked into the little
cupboards. So I thought that you must have found you could carry it and
had gone back after it, or told somebody else to get it. I was jabbering
to the girls and didn’t notice what you did or I might have seen you go
straight on and get on the _Greycliff_. It’s a perfect shame!”

“Well, it isn’t your fault, Cathalina. I’m real sorry, because I had
some such pretty pictures of the place. I got one gull just spreading
his wings to fly, and I thought that perhaps Lilian might have a cut
made of that for the _Greycliff Star_, if she is going to write up
‘White Wings.’”

“We’ll advertise for the camera, but I can’t think of a senior girl who
would take it for a joke or on purpose.”

“Yes, I’ll have a little notice read and tell about the pictures, and it
may turn up.”



CHAPTER II: “WHITTIERS”


Isabel Hunt and Virginia Hope, juniors, were together in a single room
on Lakeview Corridor. It was the same room which Isabel had occupied
with Avalon Moore when they first came to Greycliff. While the
scholarship which Virginia had won the year before was a great help to
her financially, she still felt that she must be as economical as
possible, and single rooms cost less than suites, even when the expense
of a suite was divided among four. Isabel said that she, too, was well
suited by making careful plans, for Jim and her father were saving
against the time when all the boys would be in the army and business
might suffer. Then, Avalon Moore and Olivia Holmes, who had shared the
suite with them, were not back this year. Avalon’s father was an officer
in the regular army, and Avalon was with her mother and the other
children, while her father was in France. Olivia’s people had moved from
the South to California, where her sister lived.

“Honestly, Virgie,” said Isabel one evening, “I believe it is easier to
study with just you and me here. It’s such a temptation to talk when
there are more of us.”

Virginia looked up from her book with an amused glance.

“I know what you are thinking,” continued Isabel with a laugh, “but I
only break out by spells. I wonder what Olivia and Avalon are doing
tonight.”

“Getting lessons too, I suspect.”

“Yes, Olivia wrote that she likes her school out there pretty well, but
misses all of us girls. There is her letter, Virgie. I forgot to tell
you to read it. She says that the girls are crazy about her butterfly
pin and want to start a Psyche Club there. And she wants us to write and
tell her every single thing about Greycliff, who is back and who isn’t,
and where the Grant Academy boys are, if we know, and everything. I
wonder what she has done with her fur coat!”

Both girls laughed as they recalled how eager Olivia had been for the
new experiences of the North, and how she had run to her closet for the
coat as soon as the fire alarm rang, not long after her arrival.

“She got to be one of the best skaters here, and _adored_ skiing!”
Isabel shook her head in regret for the lost opportunities of the absent
Olivia.

“Oh, well,” said Virginia, “when we’re freezing our noses and toeses
this winter, she’ll be picking roses and oranges.”

“That is pretty nearly a poem, Virgie. Can’t you fix it up a little?
Noses, toeses and roses are so poetic!”

“No,” said Virgie, “I’m capable of rhyme, but not of meter. Lilian can
make up poetry enough for our club. By the way, I’m in favor of Olivia’s
starting a Psyche Club out there if they want to. Faith, love, effort,
and ‘on to Olympus,’ or immortality, aren’t bad ideals. It certainly
impressed me when I first came here, and you all were so perfectly
lovely to me. Do you know, it didn’t seem a bit hard to go back to the
ranch this summer. I wanted so to see Father that it took away my dread,
and when I got there I found the world such a big place to me, after the
school life, that it didn’t make so much difference about what happened
for a little while on the ranch. Then my stepmother had been sick and
worried about Father—she was _glad_ to see me! So I took hold to help,
and it was easier, and I had learned to appreciate the big country
around us, and instead of its being an awful summer it was one of the
best I ever had! I kept thinking, too, that I could probably have at
least one more year of education here, and perhaps earn the rest
myself.”

“Yes, isn’t it queer how you find out you can do things? Why, if anybody
had told me once that I would _enjoy_ debating, I would have thought
them, him or her, crazy!”

“It’s a good thing I don’t have to make candy this year to help out the
expenses. Isn’t it queer about the sugar?”

“Everything is queer this year, with the boys gone and going. It is a
good thing that we have so much to do.”

“I wonder why Myrtle Wiseman isn’t back this year.”

“I’m sure I don’t know. Juliet said that it was so much easier to have
the class elections this year without the schemes.”

“Perhaps we could get Dorothy Appleton and Jane Mills in the Psyche
Club, then.”

“I think it is too late, at least the girls think so, and they are in
the other society, you know. Lilian said that we had all formed
different groups. But they are lovely girls and very friendly. When they
went into the Emerson Literary Society last year, they were with a
different crowd, and now, of course, they are ‘rushing’ against our
girls, that is, I suppose we can call them our girls!”

“Do you think they will ask us to join the Whittiers?”

“Do I _think_ so?—with Cathalina president, and Hilary secretary, and
Lilian on the program committee? Yes, Miss Hope, I think that it is
quite likely. One of the girls in the debating club asked me the other
day if it was of any use for the Emerson Society to invite us. She said,
‘With all those girls in your Psyche Club that are in the Whittier
Society, I suppose you wouldn’t think of being an “Emerson,” but you and
Virgie are such fine debaters that we’d get you in if we could.’ Now
wasn’t that nice?”

“Who was it?”

“Lucile Houston, and Jane Mills was with her. I just said something
about appreciating their good opinion. I was so overcome by it, you see,
that I neglected altogether to state whether or not we were interested
in an invitation from the Emersons.”

“Doesn’t it seem funny not to be in society tonight?”

“Yes. I felt as if I ought to rush down to the Shakespearean Society and
call the meeting to order tonight. But I am glad of the rest. And I feel
so grown up to be in the first real collegiate class that I scarcely
know myself. I mean to get ahead on work these few weeks before we get
into society work, and say, I can knit like everything while I commit my
debate speeches or the other things we have to learn for the oratory
class. As soon as I finish a scarf or two, I’m going to begin on
sweaters. It is so crazy that I never learned before, with Aunt Helen
right there to teach me. But I learned how to knit socks this summer.”

The corridors were full of girls in the pretty dresses which they had
worn to dinner, hurrying toward the different society halls. Soft bells
were ringing here and there. These were important meetings, for new
members were to be elected, matters connected with the sending out of
invitations to be decided, besides the usual pressing affairs of girls’
literary societies. There were only two societies in the two collegiate
classes, hence the rivalry. One or two others had ingloriously died soon
after their birth. Only the devoted Whittiers and Emersons had survived.

Two pink spots burned on the cheeks of Cathalina Van Buskirk, for she
was to take the “oath of office” tonight, sit in the famous chair on the
little platform and wield the gavel of ebony, presented by a famous
graduate who had made a name for herself. The other new officers were
also to be initiated, and then the important matters of business were to
be conducted. “Hilary, wink at me if I do anything wrong, and then I
will find it necessary to consult the secretary,” said Cathalina gayly,
as they entered the door.

“You will get along as well as I did when I was president of the
Shakespearean Society. Didn’t we read Robert’s Rules of Order together?
I shall have to learn the duties of a secretary. It seems funny, but
with all the church societies I have been in I’ve never been a
secretary, and in this society, recording and corresponding secretaries
are one. They usually wanted me to be the president, or treasurer. I
suppose they thought they could trust the preacher’s daughter!”

“You will have the old books to go by. I imagine that we can remember
what the seniors did last year after we get started in.”

“Hurry up, Lilian,” said Hilary, turning back, “time to begin.”

“Don’t you love this hall?” asked Lilian of both girls. “It was fun
working for the Shakespearean Society and getting our new furniture and
all, but I believe this seems more artistic because it is older. The
tone of the piano is not as good, though. We must have a new one, don’t
you think so, Hilary?”

“This hall is a better, larger room with more windows,” said Cathalina.
“It was possible in the first place to make a prettier hall of it, and,
yes, the furniture is more handsome than we thought we could afford when
we started the academy society. The older society really ought to be the
more dignified.”

“We didn’t think so when we were in the academy!”

“No, indeed. How we do change!”

No embarrassment could ever make Cathalina awkward. The girls were
always sure to be proud of Cathalina’s manner and language either in
public or private. Isabel was as devoted to Cathalina as ever and felt
an added gratitude since Cathalina had saved her, as she said, “from a
watery grave” the year before. Cathalina herself was pleased that the
girls had chosen her their president, and had made detailed preparations
having in her hand a neat little outline of the affairs to be put
through tonight. There was to be no regular program until the new
members were brought in at the next meeting, but if the business did not
take up the whole time, Evelyn Calvert had promised to give a “reading”
in the dialect for which she was famous in the school, and Eloise was to
sing. Among girls of so many gifts, the program committee did not have a
very difficult task. The only trouble was to make sure that the girls
prepared for their duties, for it was easy to be lazy about society
affairs when there were so many pressing school duties all the time.

Pretty and dainty Cathalina looked when, after the ceremony with which
the officers were initiated, she sat in state in the big chair. “The
Secretary will now call the roll,” said she, whereupon Hilary called the
names of the members from what she now called the “Sibylline Books.” The
treasurer was called upon for a report of the money left over in the
treasury from last year, and Pauline Tracy reported a comfortable little
sum. A report was called from the chairman of the program committee,
Lilian responding.

“Madam President,” said Lilian, “and members of the Whittier Society,
nothing has been done yet except the arrangements for the first program
at the initiation of the new members. You will remember that it was
decided last year to complete a program for one-third of the year, then
to pass on the programs, changed as they sometimes have to be when some
one fails to serve, to the next program committee, with the list of
those members who have not yet been on duty. I would like to remind the
society, that every member is supposed to be on duty several times
through the year and that the duties will be varied. For instance, if
the musical members should only have to furnish music, they would miss
the training in speaking before the society, or debating.”

“Madam President,” said Juliet, rising.

“Miss Howe,” responded the president.

“I should like to ask why we have the program divided into three
parts,—like ‘all Gaul’.” A titter ran around the room.

Lilian rose again and was recognized by the chair.

“Madam President,—there used to be three terms, and three sets of
officers elected, of course. Now with the two semesters, the society has
several times considered changing its schedule, but has concluded that
it is better to give the opportunity to have the three elections and
more girls occupying the responsible positions during the year.”

“Is there any unfinished business?” inquired the president. “If not, a
motion to present the names of the prospective members is in order.”

This was the time for careful management on the part of the president.
Nothing unkind should be said that could be reported to girls under
consideration.

“Madam President,” said Helen Paget, “I so move, that we proceed at once
to the election of new members.”

“I second the motion,” crisply said Diane of the distinct enunciation.

This motion duly passed, Eloise Winthrop rose to make a few remarks.
“Madam President,” said she, “may we have some discussion of the names
proposed last week? I remember how we all agreed that nothing unpleasant
should be said, but it seems to me that if there is any real objection
to anybody, we ought to know it, and perhaps leave their names until the
next election. There are a few girls, too, that I do not know very well,
some new ones, and I should like to hear reasons why they should be
invited.”

“Chiefly because the Emersons want them,” quickly said one girl, and
without addressing the president. The girls laughed and Cathalina tapped
for order.

“The names are posted at the sides of the room,” said the president,
“but the secretary will read the names proposed last week, and if there
are other names that you have thought of since, they may be proposed
then. Will the secretary also give some of the reasons why we invite
girls to the society?”

As Hilary rose, to read the list and comply with Cathalina’s request,
she hesitated a little, smiled, and put down her papers on the little
carved table before her. “I suppose the first real reason, if we are
honest,” said she, “is that we want our best friends with us in our
society, just as we like to be in the same school and the same classes.
Then we want to get girls into the society that will do it honor, girls
that will try to help and girls that are gifted or have some qualities
that make them desirable. A girl may not have any great gift, but be so
utterly lovable and perhaps helpful to everybody that we couldn’t get
along without her. And then we want girls that need the society
work,—indeed we all need it. I remember a girl that was so timid she was
afraid to do anything in public, but she was enthusiastic for the
society she was in, helped in all the practical ways, finally tried to
take part in the programs, and got all over being so scared. We put her
on for reading little things at first, or singing in a quartet, or doing
other things with several girls, until she found that she was valuable
in those places and liked it. You never can tell. I’m in favor of taking
in as many nice girls as we can, up to the number we decided upon.”

Hilary then read the list and with the help of several other girls
passed the ballots, long ones on ruled paper.

“Now does any one want to speak for her candidate?” asked Cathalina.
Several girls did. Isabel and Virginia were heralded as fine debaters
and willing to do anything for the society they were in. The new girls
were duly considered, as musical, or literary, or valuable additions in
one respect or another. Some of the girls had been dreading to do what
they ought to do in reference to one name, but when it was
enthusiastically pushed by one or two of the girls, Eloise rose, her
cheeks flushed and her dark eyes glowing.

“Madam President, I do hate to say what I feel that I ought to say, and
I hope you all know that I haven’t a thing against this girl personally.
She is pretty and attractive and a good student, but they tell me that
she is a regular trouble-maker and always stirs up things wherever she
is. I hope that it isn’t so, but she has had a change of room-mates
already, and I have noticed myself that she is not on speaking terms
with one or two others.”

“Miss Howe,” said Cathalina, recognizing Juliet. “I am sorry to confirm
what Eloise says. You know that the Alpha Zetas, which really does not
exist, because we are not allowed to have sororities, or any secret
societies,”—smiles went round the room at this remark, and one or two of
the girls put on a look of supreme ignorance.

“—began to rush her vigorously, and all of a sudden they stopped. I
think that she is just a spoiled girl who may find out later that having
her own way at other girls’ expense is not the way to get along. I would
suggest that we wait a while about electing her.”

“Madam President,” said one of the girls who had recommended this new
girl, a recent addition to the junior collegiate class, from some high
school. “I haven’t seen a thing disagreeable in Alice, and it’s just
going to be a tragedy! She is counting on it so!” The eyes of Alice’s
defender were full of tears as she sat down.

Cathalina looked sympathetic and asked if there were any one else who
would speak in favor of Alice or any other candidate, but the society
seemed to be through with discussion and the election proceeded. Alas
for the occasional heartaches, but a girls’ school is a fine place in
which to learn to live with other people.



CHAPTER III: THE RETURN OF “PATTY”


The lights from Greycliff parlors shone out over the campus. Here and
there, in the rooms above, a light would flash out, as the occupant of a
room entered it and turned on her electricity. In the larger reception
room, Hilary was at the piano, while Eloise, Lilian and some of the
other girls were singing. The sounds of the music and happy conservation
floated out and reached the ears of a young woman who had just alighted
from a taxi. She paid the chauffeur, hurried up the steps and entered
the entrance hall,—so far, alone, but only for a few moments, for
exclamations of “It’s Patty, girls!” or “Oh, here’s Patty!” began to be
heard. Soon the newcomer was the center of a welcoming group of girls.
One took her traveling bag, another her pocketbook, and since the hat
with its veil seemed to be in the way, she unpinned the stylish little
affair and handed it to another of the girls.

“Oh, Miss West,—I mean Mrs. Norris, it is so _grand_ to have you back!”

“Yes, indeed. Miss Carver is crosser than ever since the——”

“Hush! Don’t say anything about the war; Patty can’t stand it!”

“Oh, are you really married?”

“Yes, girls, I’m really married, and it is wonderful to have you glad to
see me, like this,—I’m going to need—lots of company!” Patty put her
face for a moment on Pauline’s comfortable shoulder, but lifted it
bravely, smiling as she finished, “—he belongs to me anyhow, and he sent
his warmest greetings to you all.”

“Who in the world is she?” asked one of the “new girls,” “and who is the
‘he’ she is talking about?”

“It is Mrs. Norris, who was Miss West and has been a teacher here for
several years. Dr. Norris came here to teach, too, and they were engaged
all last year. Then he was in camp and couldn’t get away to be married,
I guess. Anyway, they were just married recently, and I suppose she has
seen him off to France.”

Betty, Cathalina and Pauline saw their “Patty” to her room, put away her
things for her, and hovered around till Miss Randolph, hearing of the
arrival, came up herself to greet the bride. Mrs. Norris hastened to say
that her next act was to have been a visit to Miss Randolph, after the
dust of travel was removed, but Miss Randolph replied that she was only
too glad to come to her. The girls immediately withdrew and went out to
join the other interested girls, who wanted to hear all about the
romantic wedding.

“We don’t know a thing,” said Betty. “Of course, we wouldn’t _ask_ her,
and it must be terrible to come back to teaching after just saying
goodbye to your husband. But I imagine that she will tell us things
after a while. Isn’t she a dear?”

On the next morning, the returned teacher met her classes as usual, a
group of friendly girls clustering around her desk before the first
recitation. A little before the second bell, one of the senior girls
came in, her finger on a difficult line in Horace’s Satires, and said,
“I simply can not understand, Dr. Carver, what he means!”

“Dr. Carver!”

“‘Dr. Carver’, indeed, do you want to insult her?”

The senior looked up wonderingly at the girls who thus exclaimed, for
she was not conscious of having used the wrong name. Then she laughed.
“Please forgive me, Miss West, I did not realize what I was saying. My
mind was on those lines I could not get. Why, what is wrong _now_? You
are all laughing!”

Mrs. Norris laughed, too, patted the senior’s arm and said, “Never mind,
you will get used to the change. I don’t mind at all. If you forget, you
need not apologize, but try to get it right the next time. There is the
bell. Take your seats, please.”

No one would have known that Patricia West Norris had anything to worry
over, and if there was any difference it was only that she was more
inspiring. “I am a soldier’s wife,” she said to Betty, as one day they
clambered out over the rocks and sat viewing restless waters, floating
clouds and flying gulls. “If he can go as cheerfully as they all are
going, to face the guns, I certainly will have to live up to him. I
shall want to be by myself a little, of course, to think and to write
letters, but you girls are helping me very much, and I am not going to
mourn till something happens, and I am hoping that nothing will. I
shan’t pretend that it is easy, though.”

Betty stroked her hand and they sat silently a little while. Betty had
her own reasons for sober thoughts at times, but kept a bright face.

“See, Mrs. Patty (which was Betty’s name for her), there is smoke coming
from that little house over the cave, and somebody is out in a boat
fishing. We were always going to investigate that place.”

“It is probably the headquarters for some rough fishermen and you girls
must keep away.”

“Oh, yes, we will. I have certainly lost all curiosity about it, though
it is more or less mysterious. I’ll never get over wondering why Captain
Holley was there and what was in the box and what he threw into the lake
in such a hurry. It makes me think now of what the boys write about hand
grenades and things.”

“Did it explode?”

“I couldn’t tell. We kept as still as mice, Isabel and I, until we
thought the boat was far enough away for them not to see us. Even then
we kept behind the bushes for a while and near the cliff as we went back
to the Hall.”

“What do your hear from Donald Hilton?”

“Donald wrote me that he has a new kind of work, but couldn’t tell me
just what it was for a while. It’s as bad as ‘Somewhere in France!’ We
hardly know what the boys are doing! However, I’ve had long letters,
from both Donald and my brother, telling me lots of things.”

“It is pretty chilly out here,” remarked Mrs. Norris. “Suppose we go
back and walk along the beach a while to stir us up before we go in.”

“I am a little shivery,” acknowledged Betty, “for that wind is getting
cold. But I love the water. I think that this is the most beautiful spot
for a school that there could be. We just have _everything_—boating and
riding, canoeing, the winter sports and all!”

“There come the girls. I suspect that Cathalina is looking for you.”

“I imagine that she is looking for you, too. When I left she was working
on a poster for the Latin Club. It meets tomorrow, doesn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“Then we are getting up a little stunt for society. All the clubs
represented in the Whittier Society have to do something next time we
meet. They may take it from what they have had in the regular club
meeting, if they want to, but it is to be funny if possible. Isabel and
Virgie are getting up a perfectly killing debate. Isabel’s ‘points’ are
too funny for words. They don’t mean a thing, and she gets them off with
all the oratorical agony she can put on. She goes all around the bush,
tells what she is going to prove and doesn’t prove it. Eloise and I just
lay back on the bed and laughed, when she was going over it in her room
yesterday! They only have five minutes apiece, no rebuttals or anything,
and I’m sure that the judges will decide in favor of Isabel, for Virgie
declares that she can never get up anything as funny. She can think up
points, though, and may capture the judges after all.”

“Oh, here you are, folks!”

Cathalina, with note book and pencil, approached Betty and Mrs. Norris,
while walking down the slope behind her came Isabel, Lilian, Juliet and
Hilary. The girls all wore their bright sweaters and locks were flying
in the wind.

“How will this do for the announcement, Mrs. Norris?” Cathalina handed
Patricia a slip of paper from which she read aloud

                               “NOTA BENE
                    SOCIETAS LATINA HODIE CONVENIT.
                  VENITE, SOCII, VENITE. OMNES ADSINT.
                   LINGUA LATINA IN LITERATURA, ETC.
                     (Latin Club, Room 32, Today)”

“Would you say ‘Societas Romana’ instead of ‘Latina’? asked Cathalina.

“I believe I would. That is good, Cathalina. Translate it, Betty.”

“Take notice. The Latin Club meets today. Come,
friends—associates?—companions?—come. Let all be present. The Latin
language in literature and so forth.”

“What would Greycliff be in Latin, Mrs. Norris?”

“Let me see. ‘Mons’, ‘collis’, ‘saxum’, ‘rupes,’—that is it, ‘rupes.’
Then ‘glaucus’ is blue-grey, sometimes silver-grey, or sea-green.”

“Rupes, is feminine,” announced Eloise. “Q. E. D., Rupus Glauca,
Greycliff! Feminae Rupis-Glaucae sumus. Est optima schola omnium
gentium!”

“Mercy, Elo’, don’t go so fast; I can’t keep up with you!” cried Isabel.
“We are the girls, or women, of Greycliff. It is——”

“The best school in the world,” finished Eloise. “Cathalina found some
Latin by Charles Lamb, giving some lines of ‘Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary’
and ‘Little Jack Horner’; so two of the girls are going to dress up as
children and recite them, and some others that Cathalina made up. Come
on, Cathalina, cheer up your Latin teacher by reciting your latest
masterpiece!”

“Mercy, I couldn’t before her.”

“Just ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’!”

“All right.” Cathalina dropped a little curtsey, put one finger to her
mouth and took hold of her dress with the other hand.

  “Ma_ri_a agnellum ha_be_bat,
  Cujus vellus niveum erat;
  Et quacunque M_a_ria
  Iter faci_e_bat,
  Ag_nel_lus eti_am_ semper _i_bat.”

“There is more, but I have forgotten it. You have to accent the ‘i’ the
first time in ‘Maria,’ and the first ‘a’ the second time, to get the
right effect. The ‘i’ is either long or short.

“O, give us ‘Vetus Mater Hubbard ad armarium venit’,” urged Isabel.

“Can’t. I’ve forgotten it.”

Mrs. Norris was smiling over the fun. “Have you any serious Latin on
your program?”

“O, yes. Most of the program is serious. Dorothy has an article on the
famous Latin Hymns and some girls are going to sing the Adeste Fideles.
Then one of the Academy girls is going to recite the first part of
Cicero’s First Oration against Catiline, and there are some other
things,—historia, musica, scientia, et multae res de quibus dicere
tempus non est!”

“Listen to her!” exclaimed Isabel.

“I’ve just been writing it out, you know,” apologized Cathalina.
“Tomorrow, when we have composition, Mrs. Norris, I probably can’t think
of a thing!”

“Who is that waving out there?” inquired Pauline.

The party all turned to look toward the lake. A boat was bobbing over
the waves, and soon a voice called. Somebody was using a pair of long
glasses and had discovered who they were.

“They’re in sailor costume!” exclaimed Betty. “What do you think of
that! It is Donald Hilton standing up there. I should think he would
fall in!”

A fine-looking lot of sailors they were, rowing away. At a distance
there was a small vessel from which they had come. Presently the boat
came up to the dock, where by this time the whole party were waiting.
The sailors rested on their oars, smiling in friendly fashion, while the
officer in charge gave some order to Donald as he leaped out.

“I’ve just about five minutes, folks,” said Donald, as he shook hands
with one and another in turn. “Have I permission, Mrs. Norris?”

“Just as long as you like, Mr. Hilton—I do not know your rank. I am only
familiar with the infantry insignia.”

“Not very far up yet, Mrs. Norris. What is the Doctor by now?”

“A first lieutenant.”

“We’re doing a little scouting for Uncle Sam, and I got permission to
stop here a few minutes to ‘see my folks’, or some of them.” Donald gave
a whimsical glance at Betty.

“I think I’ll give you a little opportunity to visit with Betty,” said
Mrs. Norris. “Since you can have so short a time, we will shake hands
again and wish you safety and success. Come again.”

Mrs. Norris and the other girls drew away, walking slowly along the
beach in the direction of the school. It was quite marked, the
appropriation of Betty, yet in those times a few precious moments, with
friends perhaps so soon to go across, were of first importance.

“Wasn’t that good of her? Betty, I’ve got your dear little picture safe
in here,” and Donald patted the place where his heart was supposed to
be. “I live on your letters, and haven’t been where I could get them for
a week or two. We’re on a little detail with some secret service men. I
can’t tell you about it now, and please don’t mention the secret
service.”

“I won’t,” said Betty, rather dazed. “Are you really here, or not?”

“I am. This is me, in the language of the poet. We may be in these parts
for a while, cruising around, and we may not. We are going to pretend to
leave anyway, and you will see the old tub steaming away shortly. If I
get a chance, I’m going to come again. Will you be glad to see me?”

“Oh, yes, Donald, you know I will.” Betty did not know just how glad she
would be the next time she was to see him.

They sat down inside the little boat house, on one of the benches, and
managed to say a good deal in the short time allotted them. The men in
the boat, young men, all of them, talked, joked and sang while they
waited. Finally the officer spoke to Donald, who said a last goodbye to
Betty and climbed into the boat. Betty felt a little self-conscious, but
stood out on the dock, poised like a bird, as she waved to Donald. The
sailor lads waved their caps as they pushed off, then bent to the task
of rowing back to the ship. Their voices came back to her as they sang
one of the old sailor chanteys, though these were mostly college boys,
with little experience as yet except in rowing for the championship of
their schools.

Betty walked slowly away, looking back and out at the boat and small
steamer. “Is this I, or isn’t it?” she thought. “Did anybody ever have
such unusual things happen? Here came Donald, out of the lake, so to
speak. Presto, a lot of good-looking boys like him, and a friendly
officer, appear from ‘the deep,’ serenade Donald and me and the girls,
and row off again.”

When Betty caught up with her friends, their comments were not unlike
her own. “Betty’s always having adventures,” said Isabel. “Here am I,
longing for romance and adventure, and nothing happens.”

“You were almost drowned last year,” suggested Betty.

“Yes, but I was unconscious all the time I was being rescued and missed
all the thrills.”

“Mercy, child! You were welcome to all Cathalina and I had!” remarked
Hilary.

“If it had only been good form for Mrs. Norris and us girls to get
acquainted with some of those nice boys in the boat, life would not seem
so barren,” sighed Isabel, with pretended sorrow.

“You very well know that you were the first to leave, and would have
been horrified at the thought of talking to them!” exclaimed Cathalina,
taking Isabel seriously.

“Perhaps, gentle mentor,” said Isabel, putting her arm about Cathalina.

  “I would not love a sailor lad,
  However bright his e’e;
  A deck would have his roving feet,
  No hearth-stane warm, with me!”

“Set that to music, Lilian, and sing it to Betty.”

“Is that your own, Isabel?”

“Yes. I thought it up while we were waiting for Betty. Donald is sort of
Scotch, you know, so I put in ‘e’e’ and ‘stane’.”

“It seems to be catching,” said Eloise. “Lilian and Cathalina are always
making verses, and now Isabel.”



CHAPTER IV: AGAIN THE GREYCLIFF GHOST


“Whither now, Lily Ann?” Diane was strolling out of classroom number
five behind Lilian.

“I don’t answer to that name,” replied Lilian, pausing, however, and
linking her arm in that of Diane. “How becoming that crimson frock is.”

“Do you like it?”

“Yes. It matches your cheeks and brings out the shepherdess complexion.”

“Shepherdess yourself, Lilian, and you have the golden locks as well.
Going up to the library?”

“Yes; I have to read a little for Lit. We have a perfectly terrible book
to write on it, all our notes in class and on our collateral reading.
The first half has to be ready to hand in at the first of the second
semester. I pity the girls who haven’t written up their notes right
along.”

“I was sorry that I did not take that advanced course in Literature. It
wasn’t required, so I did not try it. I have so much to make up, anyway.
But your book prospect does not look so inviting,—I’m not so sorry after
all.”

The two girls were climbing the stairs of the library building, tripping
up the wide steps with light feet.

“Did you hear about the ghost?” continued Diane.

“No, is that the latest thrill?”

“Yes; Greycliff’s old standby, the Woman in Black, has appeared again.
One of the academy girls nearly went into hysterics the other night,
they say, after she saw it, or thought she saw it. She said that it
moaned and waved black arms, with wide sleeves or something, and glided
by as ghosts are supposed to glide, but very rapidly.”

“I haven’t heard anything about the Woman in Black for some time. Let me
see. It was Isabel that declared she saw it two or three years ago. How
many times has it appeared this time?”

“Several times, according to all accounts. There are all sorts of wild
tales about it. One girl said that it started toward her, then turned
back and just disappeared.”

“Around a corner probably. If there is any appearance of the sort, I’m
sure it’s human. Somebody is trying to trick the girls. The other time,
when we had such an excitement about it, Miss Randolph just put some
extra folks on guard at night and there was no more ghost.”

“All the same, the halls are sort of spooky at night, and I don’t
believe that I’ll watch for it. Diane is going to keep to her little
cot!”

“All the more reason for that if it is human. Any account of its getting
into the rooms, or has anything been stolen?”

“One girl tells about seeing it standing over her bed, but I think that
she was having a nightmare. She had heard about it and dreamed of it!”

By this time the girls were in the library, where conversation was not
desired. Lilian went to look over the reference books and Diane
consulted the librarian about something. Isabel, Evelyn and Helen were
sitting at one of the tables and nodded to the girls. Isabel was
scribbling away for dear life, turning page after page of a tablet.
Evelyn was drawing cartoons and showing them from time to time to Helen,
who appeared much amused. Helen was reading, when not in consultation
with Evelyn. Presently Lilian and Diane went over to the same table and
drew up chairs. “What’s the fun?” whispered Diane.

Helen smiled broadly, took the drawings from Evelyn and pushed them over
to Diane and Lilian. The girls bent their heads over them. Isabel looked
up, amused, and continued scribbling. The first picture was labeled “The
Greycliff Ghost,” and showed a skeleton, clothed in filmy black, and
bending over a terrified girl in her cot. The covers were drawn up over
the lower part of the girl’s face, only the big eyes looking up at the
ghost. The second picture was called “The Woman in Black” and depicted a
veiled figure in motion, arms stretched out before her, wide sleeves and
draperies flying, the head wrapped in a veil, but showing a mask and two
wild eyes. As the girls looked at these drawings, Evelyn, who was
watching them, offered a piece of paper on which was printed “DO YOU
BELIEVE IN GHOSTS?”

Lilian promptly wrote her reply “No. Do You?”

“YES. I’VE BEEN IN A HAUNTED HOUSE. LET’S TELL GHOST STORIES AFTER
DINNER.”

“All right, but people that believe in ghosts are likely to have bad
dreams.”

“WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU SAW A GHOST?”

This last query of Evelyn’s was passed around to the girls. Lilian
wrote, “Watch it go by.” Diane wrote, “Run.” Isabel stopped her rapid
note-taking long enough to answer, “Try one of the boys’ tricks,—stick
out my foot to see if I could trip it.”

“Diane’s answer is the only sensible one,” whispered Evelyn as she read
the different replies. Tucking away her pictures in her note book she
proceeded with the more serious work for which she had come to the
library. The other girls were also absorbed in their books. But later,
when they left the library for Greycliff Hall, there was laughter, and
stories of mysterious doings were told. “Of _course_ I believe in
ghosts,” insisted Evelyn, who had never outgrown the coquettish ways and
naive speech with which she had come to Greycliff. “Didn’t my mother’s
old Mammy bring me up on ‘ghos’es’ and ha’nts? _I_ never saw any, but
she did.”

“You just want to for the excitement of it,” said Isabel. “I wish the
seniors would give Hamlet this spring, for their play, and let me play
the part of the ghost.”

“That isn’t much of a part,” said Lilian. “I should think you would want
Hamlet.”

“I would, but the seniors would want that themselves. ‘To be or-r-r-r-r
not to be. That iz-z-z-z-z the question!’ I heard an elocutionist do it
that way once. What are you girls going to give for your senior play?”

“We haven’t decided yet, but we thought of having it outdoors and giving
‘As You Like It’.”

“That will be wonderful!” exclaimed Isabel. “There are so many places
about the campus that would make a fine setting.”

“Come around to our room after dinner for the ghost stories,” reminded
Evelyn, as she and Diane left the other girls on their way to their
respective rooms. Like Isabel and Virginia, Evelyn and Diane were
occupying a large single room this year. But Greycliff seniors have not
so much time for ghost stories and the like, and Evelyn herself, with
her knitting, was in the parlors after dinner, listening to some
singing, and chatting to Isabel, Lilian, Hilary, Cathalina and Betty.

“I believe that Evelyn has begun two or three sweaters,” said Isabel.
“Which one is this for?”

“Oh, I can’t be partial, you know,” said Evelyn, smiling as she
recovered a dropped stitch. “Geo’ge and Pehcy ah in the same company,
and if I send one a sweatah I must send the otheh one, too. I did think
that I would send this one to Cousin Francis,—I used to be engaged to
him, you know. We ah only thi’d cousins.”

“Which one are you engaged to now, Evelyn?” asked Isabel, adding
hastily, “You need not answer that, of course. It is rude of me to ask.”

“O, I don’t mind,” said Evelyn, putting her hand on one side to survey
the sweater which she held up to view. “Do you think that is big enough
to go over the head?”

“It looks pretty small to me,” said Cathalina. “Is he big or little?”

“My head just comes to his shoulder. Yes, he is pretty big, Pehcy is.”

“I wonder if that is my answer,” remarked Isabel to Cathalina.

“No telling.”

“Well, girls,” said Hilary, “I’d like to visit longer, but I have to get
to work. I see a hectic evening before me. I don’t know when I’ve been
so behind with everything. I’ve been doing too much knitting and
letter-writing, I am afraid. However, under the circumstances, I can’t
regret it. Patriotism before everything!”

“Are you sure that it was _all_ patriotism, Hilary?”

“Quite sure,” laughed Hilary.

In Lakeview Suite there was, indeed, a busy group that evening. It
happened to be near examination time. Notes were being brought up to
date. Exercise books in the languages were to be put into final shape.
Eloise came in to consult Lilian about some exercises in Harmony, which
both were taking, Lilian because she wanted to know how to write her
little songs, and to catch up with Philip in his knowledge of the
subject. The girls were all tired when the first bell rang, and Hilary
sat, writing on, without paying any attention.

“You’ll be in the dark pretty soon, Hilary, unless you break rules,”
remarked Lilian.

“Don’t mind me,” said Hilary. “Put the lights out when the bell rings.
I’ll just write till then; I’m almost through. Then I’ll use my flash
light when I get ready for bed.”

Finally, darkness descended upon the suite, and Hilary, her head aching
a little, tossed and turned, till finally she wandered off into a dream
with Campbell Stuart, both on a vessel, on the way to France, and
watching a submarine whose periscope had just appeared close by. In the
middle of the night she woke, consumed by thirst, and reaching under her
pillow for her flashlight, slipped quietly out of the room after some
water.

Just outside of her door she paused and started a little, for around the
corner came a ghostly figure, looking very much as Evelyn had pictured
the “Woman in Black.” There were two corridors running at right angles
to Lakeview Corridor, and it was from one of these, in the direction of
which Hilary was headed, that the ghost came. And, without warning, from
the other direction, which Hilary, though not the ghost, could see, came
running another figure with flying hair, light slippers and pale kimono.

“Two ghosts,” thought Hilary.

It all happened so quickly that Hilary could not have prevented it even
had she been able to recover from her surprise. The “Woman in Black” saw
Hilary, without doubt, for she waved her hands and moaned, a high quaver
of ghostly sound. And right at the corner, plump into the Woman in
Black, ran the other flying figure,—bump!

It was Evelyn’s face that turned toward Hilary. The black form recovered
from the shock and sped on, but dropped a little roll of papers and,
with an exclamation, turned and came back. Evelyn hastened to pick up
the papers first—Evelyn, who was afraid of ghosts!

“Give them to me at once!” demanded the “ghost” in a hissing whisper.

Evelyn unrolled the papers in the dim light of the hall and showed no
intention of hurrying. Impatiently the black ghost snatched at the
little bundle, but Evelyn put it behind her back at first, then with a
bow held it out,—“Your property, I believe,—Louise Holley!”

The “Woman in Black” angrily pulled away and disappeared down the hall.
Evelyn leaned up against the wall and looked after her, while Hilary
moved toward her, saying gently, in little more than a whisper,
“Evelyn.”

“Is that you, Hilary?” asked Evelyn, in evident relief. “Did you see
that performance? I suppose Louise has been out to meet that precious
brother of hers. That is why she is staging the ghost act. How do you
happen to be on hand?”

“I woke up and perishing with thirst, or was. I declare I was so taken
by surprise that I forgot what I was up for.”

“It’s that ham, that grand baked ham we had for suppeh. I was so thihsty
too, that I just had to have a drink and we forget to get any watch for
the room, as we usually do.”

“So did we.”

“I happened to think about the ghost stories after I was in the hall,
and put on speed just in time to run into the actual ghost! Honestly,
I’m shaking all oveh!”

“You did not act afraid.”

“I wasn’t. No ghost is as solid as what I ran into.” Evelyn chuckled.
“It was the shock, and being afraid that I would meet a ghost, a real
one.”

“Do you still believe in that kind?”

“I must say that my faith is shaken. Didn’t Louise look like the real
thing though as she disappeared?”

“She looked like a bad spirit all right. Some of the lights in the hall
have been turned out. Did you notice that?”

“I think they always do it.”

“Yes, but they always leave enough to make a little light, and you can’t
see any toward Louise’s room.”

“She must have done it on purpose. My, how mad she was when I would not
hand her her papers.”

“They were little diagrams, Hilary. What do you suppose that means.”

“I think that Miss Randolph ’d better send her away again. That is what
I think. Shall we tell her?”

“Let’s sleep on it. Take me back to my room, will you, Hilary?”

“Don’t lose your courage now, when you were so brave.”

“I always do when I have somebody to lean on. I ought to have a lot of
responsibility put on me, I reckon.”

“You nice little thing!” exclaimed Hilary, patting Evelyn’s shoulder.
“Let’s get a good drink first.”

“All right. I could drink all the wateh there is! Let it run and run to
get fresh and ice-cold!”

All this conversation was carried on in subdued tones. Evelyn decided
that she would show her bravely by going back to her room alone, but
Hilary paused at the parting of the ways and watched her scampering
through the corridor to her room, which she entered, after giving one
hasty backward glance to make sure that no ghost or human was entering
behind her.



CHAPTER V: SENIOR BASKET-BALL


Upon returning to her room, Hilary was too wide-awake to sleep and
dropped upon the window-seat in the dark study room, drawing around her
Cathalina’s steamer rug which happened to be there. The wind was sighing
through the trees. She could hear the sound of the waves upon the beach
not far away, and another louder sound came from the lake as well, that
of some motor. “A boat or a plane,” thought Hilary, looking out through
tree-tops, “I believe it is a plane. Perhaps they are trying out the
hydroplanes though it is rather late for that.” Just then there came a
flash from where the shore line was located. “A search-light,” was
Hilary’s thought, but no steady sweeping light continued, only two or
three flashes. Hilary leaned out of the window, looked in all directions
and was rewarded by seeing dim flashes far down the lake. Two or three
times the signals were repeated, then no more.

For five or ten minutes, Hilary still sat by the window thinking over
the occurrences of the night, then went to the table where her own clock
was still ticking out the hours, so carefully watched that evening when
they were hurrying their lessons through. Flashing her light on its
familiar face, she read that it was one o’clock, yawning a little, she
stole gently back into her bedroom without waking Lilian, tucked a
comfortable pillow under her head, threw back her heavy brown braids to
a position where they would not annoy her, and was soon in a dreamless
sleep.

But Hilary had come to a decision while she sat looking out of the
window. Whatever it was in which Captain Holley was concerned, it was
evident that Louise was meeting him and was taking advantage of the old
tradition to play the ghost and make the girls afraid to go through the
halls at night. It was no single prank to be winked at. Miss Randolph
should know the whole story from beginning to end.

In the morning, therefore, the performances of the night were related to
an interested audience of three, as the girls of Lakeview Suite dressed
for breakfast, and Hilary said that she had determined to tell Miss
Randolph. “What do you think, girls?” she asked.

“You are right, Hilary,” said Lilian, without hesitation.

“Are you going to tell her about me, too?” asked Betty, “and the cave,
and everything?”

“Yes, unless you have some objection.”

“Not a bit.”

“I wish you would go with me, Cathalina, and I want to get Evelyn to
support my evidence about last night. I think it is our business as
seniors to stop this affair of coming and going at night.”

“Louise will be furious.”

“Louise isn’t any too safe herself.”

“I shall be glad to go, Hilary. I have felt like speaking to Miss
Randolph about several things before this.”

But it was easier to make a decision than to carry it out, where other
persons were concerned. Scarcely had Cathalina finished speaking, when
there came a quick rap at the door, and, upon invitation, Louise herself
came in. Looking from one to another, she saw knowledge written on the
faces of all and hastened to make her appeal. “Say, Hilary,” she began,
“you are not going to tell Miss Randolph, are you, about my playing the
ghost? Please don’t!”

“I made up my mind to do that very thing,” said Hilary, her face
flushing with the effort of doing a disagreeable thing. “I didn’t think
that you should be allowed to go on with this sort of thing.”

Louise burst into sudden tears. “I can’t see anything so dreadful about
fooling the girls!” she said, as soon as she could control herself.

“No, Louise, but I can’t feel that that is all there is to it. Now
haven’t you been out to meet your brother again? I’d like to know what
he is doing, too. It certainly looks queer to us girls that you find it
necessary to meet your own brother in this way, when he can come to see
you at any proper time. Have you a key to one of the doors?”

“It isn’t your business what I am doing!”

“No, but I fancy that it is Miss Randolph’s, if you are disobeying such
important rules. It is a matter of your own safety as well as ours. I
don’t intend to do anything but inform Miss Randolph. She can use her
own judgment.”

Louise wore an ill and sullen look, then realized what it would mean if
Hilary informed Miss Randolph, and began to cry once more. “I didn’t
think that you were such a mean girl,—to tell!”

“If I don’t, will you stop going out at night?”

“What good would it do for her to promise us?” inquired Lilian with
surprising bluntness. “We can’t sit up nights to see that she keeps her
promise.”

“Will you give me your key?” said Hilary.

Louise hesitated. “Y-yes,” she said, “if you will not tell.”

“Well, Louise, I’ve no desire to have you sent away, and I suppose that
is what would happen. If you will give me your key and promise not to
leave the hall at night, I will at least postpone telling Miss Randolph,
and see what happens. There’ll be no more ‘Woman in Black’ nonsense, of
course.”

“All right. I suppose I’ll have to do it. Here is the key.” Louise
handed Hilary a key, while the other girls looked at each other as if to
say, “Funny that she had it all ready like that.”

After the departure of Louise, Hilary sank into a rocking chair and
dropped her hands in a gesture of helplessness upon her lap. “Did you
ever!”

“Crocodile tears!” exclaimed Betty.

“Oh, her tears were genuine enough,” said Lilian, “and she got what she
came for.”

“I suspect I was a goose,” said Hilary, “but perhaps she will be good,
and I hate to tell things that will send a girl away from Greycliff.”

“Perhaps Evelyn will tell,” suggested Betty.

“Louise is probably there now,” said Lilian.

Sure enough, Evelyn came in a few minutes before the breakfast bell to
ask if Louise had been there. “She wept and carried on till I didn’t
know what to do with her, and begged me not to tell any of the teachers.
I was so provoked with her that I wouldn’t promise, but finally said
that I would do whatever Hilary thought best. You ought to have seen the
funny little smile she had when I said that. She just said, ‘Very well,’
and pretended to go out in a bad humor, but I could tell that she
thought it would be all right.”

“We’ll just let it go a while, Evelyn, and see. I didn’t promise _never_
to tell.”

On the bulletin board, as the girls went to breakfast, there had already
been put up notices of a senior class meeting, a “short meeting” of the
Whittier Society, and regular basket-ball practice.

“You will have to have some one else take the minutes, Cathalina,” said
Hilary, “for I can’t miss the practice.”

“Of course not. My, I’m glad that you are playing this year, Hilary. Now
we shall be sure to win the tournament. It was terrible that we lost
that time when you did not play. Of course we can beat the academy
classes and I’m not afraid of the juniors now. Do you remember how
nearly we came to winning that first year?”

“Indeed I do. How we worked! This will be my last year to play, though.
Oh, of course, little games, perhaps, but I mean in competitive games of
any consequence. We are getting in pretty good trim. You ought to see
Juliet and Pauline make baskets. They almost never miss, if they have
any kind of a chance.”

“It is only a few days until the big affair comes off.”

“Yes,—that was one reason why I didn’t want to have any trouble about
Louise. I want to keep fit. I don’t feel any too lively today after last
night’s late hours.”

“Cut your last class this morning and take a little nap before lunch.
I’ll wake you up.”

“Oh, no! I’ll get through all right. I’ll get to bed early.”

For the next few days basket-ball was the chief topic of conversation at
Greycliff. All the teams were “getting into shape,” as they said, and
all the other girls were watching practice or inquiring about it and
trying to prove that their class had the best team in school. “Time will
tell,” said Hilary. “I’m glad we have a referee that is so strict about
the rules. If we win, it will be a real victory.” Hilary was captain
again.

“I declare, I don’t know which class I want to win,” said Isabel. “Of
course, I want my own class to beat, but here are all your Psyche Club
and Whittier chums in the senior class. Class spirit, however, is the
thing in the tournaments,—hurrah for the junior collegiates!”

“I remember your leading the yells, Isabel, for the junior academy class
at our first tournament. It was too funny. Avalon led the singing. Who
would have thought that such a little mouse as she seemed at first would
be so lively? I suppose that the academy girls will make as much noise
as we did.”

“Are you going over for the Academy Tournament tonight?” asked Isabel.
There had been a meeting of the Psyche Club at the “Olympic Portal” and
the girls were chatting on after adjournment.

“Yes, indeed,” replied Hilary. “We want to see what our opponents can
do, also get into the spirit of the game. All of us that are on the
teams are going, and I guess that the other girls in our suite are
going, aren’t you?” Hilary turned toward Cathalina and Betty, who stood
near. “I know that Lilian is.”

“Aren’t we what?” asked Betty.

“Going to the Academy Tournament tonight. Old Hilary says that she wants
to see _her_ opponents, as if she were sure that it will be the _senior_
collegiate that will play the winning academy class.” Thus Isabel.

“Too bad, Isabel, that you are a junior and can’t conscientiously root
for us.”

“She talks as if I wanted to,” and Isabel turned to Virgie in pretended
indignation.

There was great fun in the gymnasium that night. “Susan’s Band” had been
revived and marched in between games with much playing upon combs,
triangles and other difficult instruments. Four different classes had
their class songs, class yells and unrepressed enthusiasms. Miss
Randolph, who was present from a sense of duty, fairly put her hands
over her ears as applause mingled with the closing strains and clashes
from “Susan’s Band.” This was a longer performance than the contest
between the junior and senior collegiates would be. That was to take
place in a few days, provided no accident to the chief performers
occurred tonight, to postpone the event of the contest between the
winning academy team and that of the collegiates. But it was best to
have the collegiates meet in battle early, for they too, might need time
for recovery.

It was always determined by lot how the classes were to play. This time
the freshmen, academy, met the sophomores and defeated them in a close
game. The seniors and juniors played against each other, the juniors
defeated. Both games were exciting, the scores nearly even. But the last
game, between the excited little freshmen and the seniors was easily won
by the senior class, with a score rather humiliating to the freshmen,
but on the whole they were pleased to have been in the final game at
all.

“It will be the seniors against seniors,” whispered Pauline to Juliet,
who smiled at her and said, “Mayhap it will.”

Several days later, the gymnasium was again the scene of a real contest
between the two collegiate classes. The seats were full of interested
spectators from all the classes, academy and collegiate. Many of the
teachers were there and some of the faculty wives who lived at Greycliff
Heights. There was no uproar, the two classes contenting themselves with
a few yells given at especially appropriate times, and the more
dignified class songs of the upper classes, if any of the class songs
can be called such at all. Very little nervousness, if any, was shown by
either team at first, and the game began with much skill in evidence.
Hilary’s forces began with success in getting the ball, and keeping it
against much interference; the seniors made one basket after another,
and the score was all in their favor. Then luck turned. Calamity of
calamities, it was Juliet who fumbled and lost the ball to a junior, who
tossed it some distance to a girl under their basket,—into which it went
in a jiffy. After the ball was tossed, the juniors were again in
possession. How the senior girls worked to get a chance once more, and
when one of the juniors missed a basket it was a senior girl who
captured the ball. Fast and furious waxed the efforts. For some time
nobody could make a basket for the successful interference of opposing
forces. But at last it was the senior class which was victorious, and as
Pauline had said, it would be the seniors against the seniors in the
final tournament.

The greatest interest, perhaps, centered in the first tournaments, for
the academy classes were more interested in beating each other than in
trying to win over the collegiates, while the senior and junior
collegiates felt more eagerness to win from each other. However, at the
last tournament the collegiate class always felt that they would be
disgraced if beaten by the academy, a thing which rarely happened. The
academy class which won in the academy tournament felt, moreover, that
they must at least have a respectable score, and make it as hard as
possible for their opponents to win. Then there was always the
_possibility_ of victory.

The senior academy of this year was especially good. Their team was made
up of experienced players; their captain was a girl of good judgment and
ability.

“Now, girls,” said Captain Hilary, “don’t imagine that we have already
won this game. It may be close however. Remember how well these girls
play. I feel sure that we can win if we are not over-confident and think
that we need not play our best. Remember to keep your wits about you and
feel that the game depends on how well each of you plays. I don’t think
that this other team will try anything but straight, clean basket-ball,
and let us be as careful. Look out that your interference is within
rules.”

The senior collegiates had a little advantage over the other team in
poise, but the academy girls were fast and eager. The game began under
the close attention of a very much interested audience composed of the
whole school, teachers, and as many visitors as the collegiate contest
had boasted. The shrill whistle of the referee sounded “ever and anon,”
as Isabel said to Cathalina, next to whom she sat, with a firm grip on
Cathalina’s hand, which she clutched in her excitement. Cathalina said
afterward that she could have shut her eyes and known how the game was
going from Isabel’s grip and exclamations. This time, as a collegiate,
Isabel had her heart with Hilary’s team. Isabel had grown out of the
noisy period, but in tones loud enough to be heard by Cathalina, and by
Virgie, on the other side of her, Isabel’s conversation ran on with the
game. “O, _get_ the ball, Hilary! That’s fine. Oh, mercy, she is going
to try the basket herself instead of giving it to Pauline—she never can
make it at that distance!” Quick withdrawal of Isabel’s hand from
Cathalina’s, as with the rest of the audience she applauded Hilary’s
placing the ball in the basket from an awkward position. “That was
_great_! A few more plays like that—sakes, we’ve lost the ball now. How
in the world did that happen! That guard ought not to have been there!
Good work, Juliet. Another basket! For pity’s sake, keep the ball.
Pshaw, what a fumble! Jump for it girlie. There,—our ball. Good play.
But they are pretty good at keeping our girls from making a basket.
‘Toot-toot,’ time’s up.”

Cathalina turned laughing to Isabel. “You need a rest as much as the
team, Isabel. Virgie, did you ever see anybody as tense? I begin to get
that way, too, but I don’t dare; it makes me almost sick.”

Virginia assented. “I have to hold myself in hand, too, but it doesn’t
make Isabel sick. She thrives on excitement. She will go right to sleep
tonight, while I will be seeing the game for half an hour at least. How
much are we ahead?”

“Not enough to feel easy about for the rest of the game,” said Isabel.
“I’ve got to work just as hard the rest of the time,” she added, with a
whimsical smile.

“How did it ever happen that you did not play basket-ball on one of the
teams?” asked Virginia.

“Promised my father and Jim that I wouldn’t.”

“Aren’t they interested in athletics?”

“The boys play everything, but Father and Jim said I shouldn’t except in
just ordinary games, like the regular practice we used to have at camp.
I have to display my prowess in the water sports.”

“You shine there, Isabel,” said Virginia.

“But at that I had to be rescued by Cathalina last year.”

“That was because you were hit by that log or whatever it was.”

“Just the same, I would have drowned, like anybody that couldn’t swim,
if it hadn’t been for her. Here they come. Now for the tug of war!”

But in this last half of the game the senior collegiates had no trouble,
apparently, in walking off with the honors. Anticipating a close
struggle, they made a great effort to hold the ball, and did brilliant
playing when it came to baskets, receiving enthusiastic applause. This
rather discouraged the younger seniors, who were tired and beginning to
feel the excitement. For them, everything seemed to go wrong, as it
sometimes does. When they had the ball, somebody would fumble, or the
interference kept them from accomplishing anything. The game closed with
a good score in favor of the senior collegiates. But they joined with
the audience in giving the senior academy yell, and heartily returned
the generous congratulations, which the losing team offered them, with
many a warm statement about how good a game they had played.

Lilian, Eloise and several others of the guitar and mandolin club had
brought their instruments to help lead the singing of Greycliff songs at
the beginning of the tournament or contest, and now escorted the winning
team home with much strumming and singing. Just before entering the
solemn doors of Greycliff Hall, the players lined up and gave the senior
yell with great spirit:

“Seniors ’rah! Seniors ’rah! ’Rah-rah, Seniors Col-le-gi-ate!”



CHAPTER VI: THE RUSTLING OF WINGS


“No Ice Carnival, girls,” mourned Betty. “Of course we’ll not have any
with just those infants at Grant Academy this year.”

“All the more time for other things, then,” said Eloise. “It will be
warm before we know it. I have so many things to do, that if I stopped
to count them up I would have to leave school in self defense! There is
doing our ‘bit’ with the knitting and everything right along, of course,
and I want to have time for canoeing and the other athletics this
spring. Hilary, I am going to have as long a bird list as you, or perish
in the attempt! Isabel, our canoe is going to beat in the senior-junior
race.”

“Is it?” inquired Isabel in a tone which implied doubt. “Try it.”

Isabel was taking a butterfly pin out of a tiny box. She was the
secretary and treasurer of the Psyche Club, and had ordered this pin for
Betty, who had lost hers several months before. Not a whole year, her
senior year, could she do without her butterfly pin, which stood for so
much of Greycliff happiness and delightful friendship.

“How did Betty happen to lose her pin?” asked Eloise. “I wonder where it
could be.”

“That is what Betty wonders. She doesn’t even know when it was lost,
because, you know we keep our pins pinned on something for days at
times. She thought that she took it off a wool frock to pin on a silk
one, but she has hunted her dresses over, besides bureau drawers and
every crack about the suite.”

It seemed that Greycliff days had wings. The girls complained that
teachers in every course demanded more and more. “Patty thinks that we
are taking nothing but her Latin and English,” remarked Cathalina, “and
Dr. Carver is going to have us cover more ground this year in what is
college Sophomore Latin than any class ever did. She _said_ so! But she
actually complimented the class on doing it, can you imagine it,
Isabel?”

“I can not. I should pass into unconsciousness if I heard anything of
the sort from her. But I am sorry for her. She had an awful time at
first because she studied in Germany and couldn’t believe that they
started things, and then she was more than half in love with Prof.
Schaefer they say, and mad because the girls didn’t sign up for German,
but after a talk with Miss Randolph she came around and there has been a
distinct coolness between her and Prof. Schaefer of late.”

“Really, Isabel?” asked Hilary. “Cathalina and I once thought that it
would be a match.”

“Once Miss Randolph told me a little about her life, girls,” said
Cathalina, “and she has had a pretty hard experience, Miss Randolph
said. It did not make me think any more of her methods, but has helped
me to stand it. And she certainly does know what she is talking about.
There are lots of different people in this world, aren’t there? I don’t
suppose I would have known it if I hadn’t come to Greycliff, but it will
make me interested in people outside the family circle now.”

“To go back to our work,” said Hilary, “our music director says that
there never has been such a concert as he expects to have the girls give
this Commencement, when all the parents and everybody can be here. The
practice is taking a good deal of time, but it is such fun! There is the
Glee Club and the double quartette and the orchestra—all practicing the
most beautiful things! Lil is to sing as her second number one of her
own songs, and Phil is writing the accompaniment for her now, in between
times at camp. Aunt Hilary is coming this time to see her little
namesake perform!”

“O, I heard a red-winged blackbird today, girls,” said Juliet, “down by
the river near that place where the cattails grow. They will be nesting
there.”

“That is fine,” said Hilary. “I must go down there; I haven’t one on my
list yet. I was just thinking of how wonderful it all is this morning
when I first woke up. I heard a bluebird and a robin singing, and I
began to think about all the wings starting North on the spring
migration. The Bible says something about the land of the ‘rustling of
wings’ and that is what is happening now. Can’t you imagine how it is,
some warm night when the wood warblers are flying, tiny little things
with their _weeny_ wings, and then the big birds, like the water birds.
Then—presto—the sun comes up and lights up all the bright colors, the
scarlet tanager and the rose-breasted grosbeak, the indigo bunting and
the bluebird, the orange and black of the Blackburnian warbler, the
cardinal,—come on, I’m going to get my glass and go down to the beach!”

“All right, Hilary, but remember that your flight of imagination looked
forward into May. Don’t expect to find a rose-breasted grosbeak this
afternoon.”

“No. Isabel, my imagination is subject to a little common sense. Where’s
my note book, Lilian?”

“I put it with mine, right on the book-shelf by our geology notes. If
you will wait a few minutes till I get this letter to Phil finished, I
will come too.”

“If it is not too long,” replied Hilary, “but I know what happens when
you strike a new vein of thought and remember some more things to tell
him. Isabel, you might tell Virgie that we are going out to see what we
can see. Perhaps she will want to go, too.”

The work of the field classes began a little later than usual that
spring. Hilary, because her work and interest in this line had been a
little more persistent than that of any others, was put in charge of one
bird section. The classes went out in small groups, from the very nature
of the study, for few birds would be seen by any large company, except
at a distance. Cathalina’s generosity had long since supplied the “bird
library” with the finest reference books and some strong field glasses
and binoculars. A number of the girls had their own glasses, ranging in
power from that of an opera glass to the strong lenses of various sorts.
Outside of Lakeview Suite, probably the most enthusiastic bird “hunters”
were Eloise and Isabel, and in friendly fashion, whenever any one saw a
new bird for the season, word was passed around. Isabel dubbed her
particular section “The Stealthy Prowlers.”

By the time the girls were ready to go to the beach, the party numbered
six, Hilary and Eloise in the lead, Betty and Cathalina strolling along
together, Isabel conducting an investigation by herself, and Lilian
running down the hill last.

“It is almost too windy to see anything today,” said Isabel, looking at
the scudding grey clouds above tossing waters.

“Let’s start up along the river. The little birds will hide away from
the wind and the banks there along under the woods ought to have a
number of good ‘finds.’ We ought to see some sandpipers there if nothing
else. How chilly those gulls look. Some day we’ll row out to the
breakwater and take down the different varieties we always see there
every spring.”

“The Island is better, if you are willing to wait until the first
picnic.”

Betty was looking off to see if by any chance the same government boat
which had brought Donald before might appear upon the horizon. So
suddenly had he come before, that she was prepared for anything. But no
smoke from passing steamer could be seen in any direction.

“Poor old Betty,” said Eloise, with a little smile. “‘He cometh not, she
said, I’m a-weary, a-weary,’—_Tennyson!_”

“My bonny is over the ocean,” began Lilian, then with a sober look
added, “They’ll all be over soon enough!”

Betty did not mind the teasing, but blew a kiss in fun out to the waves,
and turned with the rest where the little river joined the lake. They
picked their way along over wet sand and mud in places, as at times they
were forced to ascend the bank.

“Here’s where the doughty Cathalina and Hilary rescued the sinking
Isabel,” said Eloise, as they passed the famous spot. “More than once
have I had it pointed out to me. In after years, when Isabel is famous
for,—what are you going to be famous for, Isabel?”

“Debating in Congress,” replied Isabel without hesitation.

“All right,—in after years when the famous Senator Isabel Hunt startles
the country with her eloquence, Greycliff will put a tablet here,——”

“And on it will be written,” continued Betty in grandiloquent style,
“‘Saved for Greycliff and her country’!”

“Sh-sh!” whispered Isabel. “I saw something fly up stream, and I heard a
spotted sandpiper call.”

The girls stopped to listen. The lyre-like notes of a red-winged
blackbird came first to their ears, then a meadow lark sang from the
fields behind Greycliff. A few grackles flew down to the river’s edge
and walked in dignified fashion near the shallows.

“O, look!” exclaimed Cathalina, pointing to a little hollow ahead of
them. “We shall find some anemones and bloodroot there I’m sure. Don’t
you remember last year they were there, and just beyond is that lovely
violet patch, if they are out yet.”

“Wait a minute, Cathalina,” said Hilary in a low tone, “what is that
scratching away in those leaves? Could it be the ground robins?”

The glasses were all focused upon the little hollow before them,
Hilary’s face growing brighter as she watched. She and Eloise turned to
each other and in one breath whispered “Fox sparrows!”

“I’m so glad,” whispered Lilian. “I missed seeing them last year, for
some reason. Look, there is a flock of them.” Several more of the pretty
brown sparrows flew from across the river and joined those which the
girls were watching.

“Can’t he scratch for a living, though?” remarked Isabel pointing to one
that was making the leaves fly. “See him fly around with that reddish
tail. What’s that little chap over there?—Oh, a junco. You are very
pretty, sir, but I’ve got you on my list already and I am seeking other
prey! However, I like your pink bill and your black hood and mantle.”

Just at that point, Betty lost her footing and stepped sidewise into a
pool of water, exclaiming a little over her wet feet. With a little
whir, the fox sparrows, and a small flock of juncos which had been
hidden from sight, rose from the old leaves and fresh green of the new
plants to fly away. But from across the stream there came a clear little
carol which was some fox sparrow’s “goodbye,” so Cathalina said.

“I had no idea that there were so many juncos there,” said Lilian. “I
was watching the fox sparrows when all at once those whisking white tail
feathers came into view.”

“It’s the vesper sparrow that has those white feathers on the sides of
the tail, too,—isn’t it, Hilary?” asked Betty.

“Yes, and other birds, too, but it is easy at a quick glance to identify
these little birds that way, as they fly.”

“You’d better get back to the Hall, Betty,” said Cathalina. “We don’t
want any cases of tonsillitis in Lakeview Suite. Come on, want a hand
up?”

“No, thanks, Cathie, I’m still able to climb up a hillside.”

The girls scrambled up the hillside that led to the wood, while as they
did so, Lilian called their attention to the sound of an airplane
humming above them. “Another kind of a bird,” said she, “a humming
bird.”

“More like a night hawk,” said Isabel, “circling around up there.
Somebody is practicing. Perhaps it is the hydroplane.”

“Oh, no. That is a regular plane,—see?”

Out over the lake, back over the fields behind Greycliff, out of sight
up river, behind the woods, appearing again and coming toward them, then
turning away in the direction of “White Wings,” the plane finally
disappeared entirely from view.

“I suppose it is from one of the aviation fields,” said Lilian. “I
haven’t gotten used to them yet. I’m so glad that Phil isn’t in the
aviation. It’s just as dangerous practicing as it is in battle.”

“Oh, no, not quite,” said Isabel. “There are a few more chances to fall
under fire. There’s where I’d be if I were a soldier, sailing over the
clouds,” and Isabel’s hand made all sorts of gyrations in illustration.

The girls became rather more sober in the thoughts of their brothers and
friends that came to them with the suggestions of aviation and the
camps. They hurried toward and into the Hall, Betty to change her shoes,
and the other girls to hunt up the evening papers with the latest news
from the front. Mail, also, was delivered, and Lilian received a long
package from the camp where Philip was located.

“It’s the music manuscript, Hilary; let’s go into the society hall and
try it over before dinner. I am crazy to see what sort of an
accompaniment Phil has written. O, dear! If I could only hear him play
it!—his beautiful hands and voice,—sometimes, Hilary, I think I can’t
stand having him go to France and maybe——”

“Don’t say it, Lilian,” said Hilary, with a tender and understanding
look. “We have to meet it. Someway I think our boys will come back.”

Lilian looked at Hilary’s sweet, strong face and felt comforted by her
friend’s faith.



CHAPTER VII: THE NIGHT HAWK


Real night hawks fly by day as well as by night. It is not unusual to
hear and see one as it circles over the city at near noon and calls its
loud “Kee-ou.” And at night many a tempting insect, fit for a night
hawk’s menu, flutters about the city lights. The name, then, which
Isabel had given to the aeroplane was not so inappropriate. “There’s the
Night Hawk,” she would say when the droning sound was heard. Whether
there was only one plane, which chose this neighborhood for its
manoeuvers, or several they did not know.

Greycliff girls were more busily occupied than ever, it seemed. The
seniors were practicing and learning parts for the senior play, planning
a Collegiate Field Meet with the juniors, preparing for final
examinations, paddling, rowing, having beach parties, and rushing out at
odd times to see the wood warblers, which were going through or stopping
to nest there.

One afternoon about four o’clock, Betty, Isabel and Pauline were over in
the meadows which stretched away from the foot of “high hill,” having
been lured there by an ever-disappearing warbler, which would sing its
little song and then fly to some farther perch. Now the song came from a
little clump of bushes and small trees in the center of an expanse of
meadow land.

“Oh, I wish it would be a chat,” sighed Isabel.

“It can’t be,” said Betty. “Its song is more like that of a myrtle
warbler.”

“If it is a myrtle warbler, after all this chase, I shall be all out of
patience,” declared Isabel. “Every other warbler I’ve seen is a myrtle
warbler or a chestnut-sided! Hilary has seen ten different kinds
already!”

“Listen, girls,” said Pauline, “there’s the plane right over us.”

Betty and Isabel looked up. “The Night Hawk,” said Isabel. “Why, there’s
something the matter; it’s coming down!”

“Perhaps it’s just landing,” suggested Betty. “This is a good place.”

Realizing that they might be in the way, they scurried for safety’s sake
to the little clump which they had been watching, and stood there to see
the aeroplane land.

“There are two men!” said Pauline in surprise, as the aviators climbed
out and one of them began to adjust something about the plane. “I’d like
to turn the field glasses that way. I wonder if I couldn’t be looking at
a meadow lark or something and accidentally swing the glasses around
toward them!”

“I fear that it would not be very polite,” said Betty, laughing, “and I
imagine that the better part of valor would be for us to start for the
Hall.”

But no sooner had Betty spoken than they observed the idle aviator in
the act of turning a field glass in their direction. A look seemed to
satisfy him, for he touched his helmet in salute, and came hurrying over
the grass toward them.

“What shall we do?” asked Betty.

“Wait and see who he is. He might be Donald.”

“No, it isn’t Donald at all,—it looks like,—it is—Oh, dear, help me to
be polite, girls!”

“How fortunate I am,” said Captain Holley, as he came up to the girls.
“My friend was taking me for my first ride in an aeroplane and something
about it was not just right. I was quite glad to reach _terra firma_ in
safety. I suppose this is part of a bird class?” The captain was
assuming all the dignity and patronage which as a teacher in a
neighboring school he could take.

“Yes, Captain Holley,” replied Isabel, with remarkable meekness. “We
were looking for a warbler and found a night hawk instead,—I have called
this plane that we hear occasionally the ‘night hawk’,” she added on
noticing that Captain Holley looked a little taken aback and startled.
“Is it an army plane?” she continued, not thinking that as an ‘enemy
alien’ he would not be permitted to ride in one.

“No, not exactly,” replied Captain Holley. “A friend of mine is
experimenting. By the way, Miss Betty, do you know whether our young
friend Donald Hilton has gone across yet?”

“No, I think not, but I think that he is to sail soon with one of the
convoys.”

“Do you know the vessel on which he will sail?” continued Captain Holley
pleasantly and with an air of slight preoccupation, as he looked back at
the plane and the busy aviator. Isabel nudged Betty at this juncture,
and replied for her:

“Oh, none of the boys know what vessel they are to go on or when, you
know.”

Captain Holley, with perfect poise, paid no attention to Isabel’s reply,
but looked inquiringly at the young lady whom he had addressed. Betty
hesitated. “I have not heard for some time, but he wrote that he was
hoping to go over before long. I know nothing definite.”

“Perhaps Donald will be back to see his friends before he goes,”
suggested Captain Holley.

“I do not know as to that,” said Betty. “When men are in the army their
time is not their own. Do not the people at Grant hear from their boys?”

“Sometimes,” assented Captain Holley.

The girls began to move off and Captain Holley managed to fall in by
Betty and to detain her a little, while the other girls had no choice
but to go in advance, though slowly.

“May I call some evening, Miss Betty?” asked Captain Holley.

“Certainly,” said Betty, who did not know how to get out of it, and felt
that for some unknown reason she must keep this young instructor in a
good humor.

“By the way,” said the young man, after he had thanked Betty and said
that he would be over some time soon, “I found something which
interested me very much the other day.” Unbuttoning his outer coat a
little way, he touched, upon the lapel of the coat beneath, a little
butterfly pin.

“O!” exclaimed Betty, “my butterfly pin!”

“But you have one,” smiled Captain Holley, buttoning his outer coat
again.

“I had to send for another. Oh, you _wouldn’t_ keep my pin, Captain
Holley! Why, it has my name on it, and everything. _Please!_”

But the captain merely smiled, made her a bow, and went back with rapid
steps to the aeroplane whose aviator was beckoning.

“What do you think, girls!” exclaimed Betty. “He has my butterfly pin
and wouldn’t give it to me!”

“Why, the _idea_!” exclaimed Pauline.

“That is certainly the limit!” said Isabel.

“And worst of all he was wearing it right on the lapel of his coat for
everybody to see, and some of the boys over there know all about our
Psyche Club.”

“I saw him fixing something before he started over toward us,” said
Pauline. “I imagine he was putting it there. I don’t think that for his
own sake he would wear it around there at Grant. He just wanted to tease
you. He likes you, Betty.”

“He takes a funny way to show it, then.”

“I nudged you, Betty,” said Isabel, “because I thought if you did know
anything about Donald’s sailing it would be better not to tell him. He
might possibly tell some spy,——”

“Or be one himself,” added Pauline.

“Oh, no,” said Betty kindly. “I guess he isn’t that bad, though he has
done some funny things.”

“What are you going to do about the pin?”

“When he comes over to call, I’ll try to persuade him to give it to me,
and if he doesn’t, I’ll ask Miss Randolph what to do, though I would
hate to have her know anything about it. Oh, I guess I can persuade him.
But he has gotten so flirtatious lately whenever I have seen him. At
that faculty party they had last week, when we girls served for them,
Captain Holley came over to me, and talked and talked.”

“What did he talk about, Betty?”

“Oh, he wanted to know if Louise was pleasant to the girls, and if they
like her,—that was a poser, but I got around it some way, and spoke of
that compliment Patty gave her on her Latin lessons. Then he talked
about me, always a pleasing subject, of course,” Betty’s dimples were in
evidence then. “And he talked about himself, also, hinted that his
family fortunes were going to change for the better, and asked me if I
liked to travel.”

“Betty, you mischief! You are making that up!”

“Indeed, Pauline, I’m not. He would look at me once in a while, to see
if I were taking it in. Of course, I was only seeing him out of the
corner of my eye, and would raise a bland countenance to him and ask him
some question about Grant, or something,—anything!”

“He is very handsome,” said Pauline, “has so much style, but it is hard
to be fair now to an enemy alien no matter how innocent he may be.”

“Style?” said Isabel, “I call it pomposity. Look out for him, Betty.”

“I will,” laughed Betty, “but I’ll have to be nice till I get my pin
back.”

“He found out whether you wrote to Donald or not, didn’t he?”

“Yes, Isabel, or rather that Donald wrote to me.”

“Well, the night hawk drove away the warblers from this spot and we’d
better go back. I think that the aviator of the night hawk is a skilled
gentleman. Look at the way it is performing up there.”

“Do you suppose that it really was Captain Holley’s first trip?”

“I doubt it, Pauline,” replied Isabel. “To change the subject, girls, do
you mind if Virgie and I come over tonight to talk with you girls about
the Inter-Society Debate? We want to have every point that can be
thought up for and against. Sometimes it helps to talk it over with
somebody who has not been thinking about the subject and has a different
viewpoint.”

“We’ll be delighted to have you come,” said Betty, “but we are not a bit
worried about the result of the contest, with you and Virgie on our
team. It is the first time that there have been two juniors with such
responsibility.”

“That is what worries us, for fear we won’t come up to expectations.”

“Have you gotten your main speeches ready?”

“Yes, and notes on all the points that we think they can bring up, ready
for rebuttal. We’ve even spouted against each other, taking the
different sides, either finding a weak point or defending a point. It is
lots of fun, but takes so much time from our lessons!”

“All for the glory of the Whittiers, though, and it will soon be over
with victory for us,—depend upon it.”

“I hope so, but Jane Mills will be fine, has so much self-confidence and
a splendid memory for what her opponents have said.”

“Your memory is just as good, and your enthusiasm, united with having
real arguments, will certainly carry the day for us. Hurrah for the
Whittiers!”

“There go Eloise and Hilary, comparing bird lists, I suspect,” said
Pauline. “Mercy, Cathalina, how you startled me!”

The girls were passing a tall hedge of bushes not far from the “pest
house” just as Cathalina and the slim Juliet slipped between bushes,
without seeing the girls, and crept along a step or two, on the bird
trail also.

“Cathalina, you looked just like an ovenbird then,” said Isabel,—“like
this,” and Isabel gave an exaggerated imitation of a stealthy walk.
“Anyone would know that you and the ovenbird belong to The Stealthy
Prowlers. Pauline scared your bird away, didn’t she?”

“That’s right, blame it on Pauline,” said that young lady.

“You were the one that called out, weren’t you?”

“I was, but then we were all hurrying along and talking. Cathalina, what
do you suppose is the latest adventure of your giddy room-mate?”

“I’m sure I couldn’t guess,” said Cathalina, tucking back a sunny lock
and brushing a dry leaf or two from her blue sweater. “What have you
been doing now, Betsey?”

“Nothing at all but trying to find a warbler.”

“She found a night hawk instead,” said Isabel. “A gay young Lochinvar
came out of the skies, and doubtless would have carried her off had it
not been for Pauline and me.”

“Listen to Isabel’s raving!” exclaimed Betty. “I’ll tell you how it was,
girls. It was an interesting adventure, but I was a passive observer.”

Betty’s account of the descending plane was a spirited one and the
climax thereof was the sight of the butterfly pin on the lapel of the
Captain’s coat.

“Oh, Betty!” exclaimed Lilian. “I don’t think that was a gentlemanly
thing to do at all. I wonder what will happen to you next!”



CHAPTER VIII: THE BRIDLE PATH


The next Sunday came, bright and sunny. Girls who were busy bringing up
their work mourned because they had to “waste so much time in study.”
Early after lunch, a number of girls started off for their ride, one
groom in charge. Most of these were seniors, whose experience in
horseback riding guaranteed a good time. Greycliff boasted handsome
horses, for some of which the girls felt a real affection. Juliet and
Pauline were already mounted and holding in their impatient steeds, when
Cathalina and Betty came down to the pavilion. Grooms were bringing out
the horses, helping the girls to mount, which most of them did most
easily.

Cathalina patted the black head of her pretty horse and whispered to
him, “Nice old Prince, I think I like you best of all our horses. But
we’ll have to change your name, I guess, because, as Kipling says, ‘the
captains and the kings depart’ in these days. Come, Boy, quiet now.”

Betty called the groom to her and asked him to fix her saddle a little.
“It feels loose, some way. Thank you.”

Cathalina pulled her horse beside Betty’s, as they waited for the entire
company to assemble, and asked her what she was going to do after she
came back. “I’d like to take a row, wouldn’t you?”

“Yes, I’d love to, but I can’t. I’m going off by myself and bone, as
Donald says, for that Lit. quiz on Monday. There are some things I
haven’t read at all! I’ll try not to think of you girls out rowing. I’m
just going for this ride and that is all the outing I’ll dare take. I
love the bridle path through the woods, don’t you? There are so many
lovely places along the shore, too. Do you remember that wonderful
picnic we had before the boys went away?”

“Oh, don’t I!”

“There they go. Pauline is a fine rider, isn’t she?”

“Yes, but Juliet is even better, and I think that you are the prettiest
thing on horseback that I ever saw.”

“Thanks, but you are partial.”

“Not a bit of it. It is my artistic eye.”

“Shall we bring up the rear? Come on, Calico. This horse has Arabian
blood in him. See his spots?”

“Is that why they call him that ridiculous name?”

“I suppose so, but they often call horses that. Let’s catch up with
Pauline if we can. There come Lilian and Hilary, I guess they are going.
They are dressed for it, at least. See, they are explaining why they are
late.”

In the woods, vines trailed down over their heads, branches met above
them and the sunlight flickered down through lacy leaves once more. The
riders slowed their horses to a walk or jogging trot, while the path
wound between tall trees or spindling saplings. Further on, they had a
gallop on the country road until they struck the bridle path along the
shore, where a beautiful view of the lake was one of the attractive
features. Miss Perin, the teacher who had “substituted for Patty,” as
the girls said, on the picnic at White Wings, was with the girls and let
them stop occasionally to examine a wild flower or pursue some new bird
a little distance.

“There’s a wonderful old farm-house over there, Miss Perin,” called
Juliet. “Can’t we ride up their drive and see if we can get some milk?”

“You are not hungry now, are you?”

“I am starved, aren’t you, Pauline?” The girls laughed, but looked at
Miss Perin with beseeching glances. “Girls are almost always hungry on a
ride, you know, Miss Perin.”

“Or anywhere else,” said Miss Perin, “All right; lead the way, Juliet.”

It was a modern place up whose concrete drive they trotted, Juliet
bringing up her horse in style at a side entrance, where a very small
girl sat on a stool just inside a latticed path. She ran out upon the
upper step to see who was coming, then quickly ran back and hid behind
the lattice, peeping out at them.

“Little girl, will you ask your mother if we can have a drink of milk?”
asked Juliet, in coaxing tones. A bareheaded, barefooted little boy next
came running around the corner of the house and stood still, blinking in
the sun and staring at the girls and horses. The girls sat on their
horses and looked in turn at the clean lawn, the flower beds, the
comfortable looking brick house with its newly painted grey blinds and
wide front porch, the big barns and tall silo, the stretching fields,
one of them with a herd of handsome Holstein cattle.

“Here is wealth, health and contentment,” said Juliet, just as a thin,
tall woman came from the porch and descended the steps, an inquiring
look on her face. “Pardon me,” continued Juliet. “One time when some of
us were riding we got some milk here, and we think that it would taste
very good again.”

“Are you the girls from the school?” asked the woman, smiling a little.

Miss Perin replied this time, “Yes, these are the girls from Greycliff.”

“Oh, yes, I see. Once in a while some of them stop, but we can’t always
let them have the milk. And we charge a good price for it,” she warned.
“We have enough today, though.”

The girls dismounted, tying their horses, or letting the groom do it, to
the fence that ran along one side of the driveway.

“Don’t tie yer horse to no tree,” said the little boy, waving back one
of the girls who was about to fasten her horse to a young peach tree.
“They either breaks the branches or gnaws the bark,” he added.

The little girl had overcome her shyness by this time and was edging
outside of the porch, trying to make up her mind whether she dared
descend or not, among so many big girls. A big man, dressed roughly for
his chores, came from one of the barns and added to the audience as he
stood and watched the girls and his children from a distance.

Presently the woman reappeared carrying a big, white pitcher, and a
young girl of about the same age as the Greycliff girls brought a tray
of glasses, shining and clean.

“It can’t cost more than a Buster Brown or a pecan fudge sundae,” said
Pauline. “Doesn’t it look good?” The milk was being poured by this time,
creamy and cool.

Lilian, meanwhile, had found a few pieces of candy in her pocket and was
coaxing the little girl to talk to her. The candy was left from Phil’s
last tribute, ordered from New York, since he was not there to send it
to her. Cathalina, too, fumbled in her pockets and discovered a little
red pencil, with a silk cord attached, which had been used for some
society doings and recently put in her pocket as convenient for taking
her bird notes when afield.

“What is your name?” asked Cathalina.

“Charlotte,” replied the child, much taken with the red pencil.

“I have a cousin Charlotte, who is just about as old as you are, I
think. Do you go to school yet?”

The child shook her head and broke away from the girls to show her
treasures to her mother, who was too busy, however, to pay much
attention.

“It’s a shame we haven’t anything for the little boy!” exclaimed
Cathalina. “I haven’t another thing in my coat pocket but a
handkerchief.”

“I believe I’ve got one of those pencils,” said Hilary, “and I put a
little memorandum book in my pocket this morning. I though we’d
certainly see something new, but I haven’t made a note in it.”

Hilary searched her pockets to see if she, too, had brought one of the
pretty pencils, for she usually preferred a more substantial kind and
had provided one of that sort for this trip. But she found a bright blue
one, which she hastened to offer to the small boy with the memorandum
book, and received a beaming smile as a reward.

By this time the farmer himself had joined the company and took the
empty glasses from Miss Perin and Betty, who happened to be standing
together. “Did you hear about the bomb explosion?” he asked.

“No, where?”

“O, a piece up the road, about ten mile, I reckon,—railroad bridge.
Something went wrong and it wasn’t hurt much, but a troop train was
about due. They’ll have to guard all them bridges. Some queer doin’s
around here.”

Betty’s mind immediately flew to the cave and the queer men. Miss
Perin’s brow contracted. “You wouldn’t think there was anybody who could
do anything like that.”

“Easier to kill ’em off here before they get over, I suppose—a bombed
train or a ship sunk by a submarine, not much difference.”

The girls settled for their milk and the contents of a jar of cookies,
not a trace of which remained, and the cavalcade moved on, this time
toward Greycliff. Cathalina and Betty fell back to the rear, though all
the horses traveled at a pretty good pace, as horses do when their faces
are turned homeward.

“Really I don’t want to hurry,” said Betty, “even if I ought to. Perhaps
I can study better.”

“I wonder what time it is,” said Cathalina, “I did not put on my watch.”

“Neither did I,” said Betty, “but the wood thrushes have been singing
steadily for some time and I’ve noticed that they begin to tune up about
three o’clock sun time. We lost lots of time at the farm-house. It will
be pretty late by the time we get home, I mean, late to begin studying.
Don’t worry if I’m not at dinner. I’ll get excused afterwards. Would you
mind making me a sandwich and putting it somewhere in the suite where
nobody will eat it up?”

“Oh, Betty, you ought to take time to eat!”

“Dinner takes too long. I’d rather have the time here.”

“I feel more like hurrying, if we get a row before dinner.”

“Let’s catch up, then.”

The girls had been lagging behind the rest for a few minutes, as they
were in the bridle path in the woods, the last lap before the final
gallop to Greycliff Hall, and the groom who kept behind them, according
to orders, had shown some slight restlessness, though he did not
interrupt their conversation. The column of riders closed up, and some
one from in front called to the groom to come and fix something. He
passed a dozen of the girls till he reached the one who needed
assistance, and as they were in sight of the school, he did not return
to his position as rear guard, but kept along with the rest.

“Don’t wait for me, Cathalina,” said Betty, “I see something I
positively must have for my book of Greycliff flowers. Gallop along,
I’ll be there in a minute.” So saying, she waved her hand to Cathalina,
who gave reins to Prince. He needed no urging to hurry through the rest
of the way in the wood and to gallop, with clattering feet, on the road
which led so shortly to Greycliff.

At the point where Betty stopped, the wood was open for a little way in
the direction in which Betty had seen the bright flower. Instead of
dismounting, then, Betty turned her horse aside and advanced toward the
spot, thinking that she would hold “Calico” while she picked the flower.
But Calico was nervous. He wanted to get on with the rest, and when a
rabbit started up from almost under his feet, he suddenly bolted, and
before Betty could tighten her loose reins he darted ahead where the
woods was still open, paying no attention to Betty’s “Whoa, whoa, Boy!
Whoa, Calico! Steady now!”

Betty shook her feet lose and prepared for the worst. “If he goes under
those trees, I’ll try to catch hold of a limb,” she thought. But being
unexpectedly whirled among the trees does not give one much of a chance
for any gymnastic exploit. Calico stopped suddenly in front of an
apparently impenetrable wall of bushes, and as Betty shot over his head,
wheeled and started in another direction.

Meanwhile, Cathalina, galloping with the gay company of seniors and
others, had never a thought that anything could happen to Betty. At the
pavilion she slipped quickly from her fiery Black Prince, as she called
him, ran to catch up with Hilary and Pauline who were ahead of her,
hurried to Lakeview Suite, donned more suitable attire for the lake, and
joined Hilary, Lilian and some of the other girls who were bound for the
same place. Arrived at the lake, they found the waters smooth, and to
their delight, the _Greycliff_ ready to take any of the girls for a
ride. It had recently come in from a trip to White Wings and was only
waiting to be filled up again.

“This is better for lazy folks like me than rowing,” said Cathalina.

“We are all pretty tired after our long ride anyway,” said Hilary. “Poor
Betty! I don’t believe she could have resisted this, if she had known
that the _Greycliff_ was going out. Had she come when you left
Cathalina?”

“No; I was only a few minutes behind you girls. I was almost ready when
I told you to start on. She was going to gather a flower or two she saw
for her book. I imagine she stayed to talk to some of the girls at the
pavilion.”

“Eloise couldn’t come, either, had a music lesson. She had forgotten it
and went back, after she saw the _Greycliff_ and everything. ‘O!’ she
said, ‘There’s that music lesson!’ The next minute she was running up to
the hall on the double-quick.”

“How lovely the sky and lake, and the shore, with its trees and cliffs,
look when everything is safe and happy!” said Lilian, who was sitting in
the bow, watching the water and the clouds, and thinking of Philip.

“Were you thinking of the ‘Wreck of the Hesperus’?” asked Isabel, who
sat next.

“No, I was thinking of the boys and of how quickly sometimes things can
change.”

Isabel patted Lilian’s hand. Quietly the girls sat as the boat cut
through the water and rocked a little when Mickey turned it about to
take them back. Nobody felt like singing, but if they had, Betty, lying
in the woods, could not have heard them.

Dinner-time came. “Where is Betty?” asked Hilary, who sat at the head of
a table now. When there were not enough teachers to go around, senior
girls were chosen to grace the head of tables. Betty and the rest of the
suite-mates sat at the same table.

“Betty asked me to make a sandwich for her and put it where it would not
be eaten. I think she meant to stay in the library. Dorothy, you were
reading in the library, weren’t you? Did you see Betty?”

“No, but she may have been in the stacks. I was over by the reference
books.”

“She ought not to do this,” said Hilary, “but I won’t see you if you
make a sandwich, Cathalina. She will be starved.”

“We had that milk in the afternoon,” said Dorothy.

“I think we have a few crackers in the suite, too,” added Cathalina.

After dinner the girls had their usual time of recreation, some of them
outdoors, some at the pianos, some visiting in different parts of the
hall; then the three girls of Lakeview Suite met in their rooms and
prepared to study. Hilary declared that she could scarcely keep her eyes
open and was going to bed as soon as she finished reviewing her French.

“I think I will go early, too,” said Lilian. “Not having ‘society’ last
night put me ahead with my work.”

An hour or so went by, then Hilary and Lilian began to take down their
locks and braid them, while they finished the last of their student
tasks.

“Thanks, Lil, I was hoping you would bring me my comb when you got
yours, but couldn’t quite bring myself to ask you.”

Cathalina yawned. “I wonder how late Betty will stay up.”

“What time is it?” asked Hilary, whose back was toward the clock.

“Eight-thirty, almost. I believe I’ll go over to the library and hunt up
Betty,—O, I forgot. I certainly can’t do it in this rig.” Cathalina
looked down upon her silk kimono and smiled. “Oh, hum. I guess it’s
moonlight, isn’t it?” she said as she crossed the room to the window.
Kneeling on the window-seat, she looked out to see a fitful moonlight
and a moon crossed by floating clouds. Then she startled the girls by an
explanation,—“Why, girls! Here are all Betty’s books!”

“Well?” said Lilian inquiringly, “Wasn’t she going to read at the
library?”

“Not altogether, and besides, here are her notes, and everything that
she told me she had all ready to use when she came back. Why, _girls_!
I’ll have to go to the library now.”

Nobody was sleepy then. Cathalina dressed as quickly as possible and
started over to the library. Hilary and Lilian started on the rounds of
the rooms and suites in which Betty might possibly be visiting. No
Betty, and the first bell rang for the close of study hours.

Cathalina came back looking frightened. “She isn’t anywhere over there,
or in the practice rooms, or the chapel, and I even went over to the
pest house, thinking that she might have slipped in there to see
somebody. But after all, girls, those books on the window-seat tell the
story, because I know that she was going to use them.”

Hilary and Lilian had been the rounds, too, but agreed with Cathalina
that the presence of the books indicated something wrong, or at least a
different plan.

“I’m going right down to Miss Randolph and she will tell us what to do,”
decided Cathalina.

“We’ll dress and come down, too,” the girls assured her.

Miss Randolph listened gravely to Cathalina’s story, sandwich and all.
“The first thing to do,” said she, “is to find out if the horse Betty
was on came in. I can’t see, though, if the groom was riding according
to orders, how Betty could have been left behind. It was a new groom,
however.”

“Oh, yes, Miss Randolph, I remember that he was called up front to fix
one of the girls straps or saddle or something, and Betty said she was
just going to gather that one flower and for me to hurry on. I supposed
she was coming and I don’t remember a thing but hurrying to get to the
Hall. There was such a crowd of us at the pavilion.”

“I’ll call up the stables. It is possible that with the horses turned
into the pasture, the absence of one would not be noticed. What horse
did you say Betty had?”

“Calico,” replied Cathalina with a smile. “Betty was talking about his
being part Arabian.”

There was some delay. Miss Randolph called again and several men went
out into the pasture to see if the spotted horse were there. It would
not have been hard to see in the moonlight, but Calico was not in the
pasture. Cathalina was waiting for the report. When it came, Miss
Randolph’s voice shook a little, as she told Cathalina to go up and put
on a wrap. “You will have to go with us to show us the place where you
saw Betty last,” she said. “Don’t alarm the girls, or tell anybody but
those who already know. Tell them to go to bed. The bell for lights out
has rung, so only your suite-mates will have to know about it. Perhaps
Betty is all right. I hope so.” Miss Randolph turned again to the
telephone and Cathalina flew upstairs as fast as her feet could carry
her.

Miss Randolph had too much faith in her girls’ keeping the rules, or
pretended to have, though pretence and Miss Randolph were scarcely
acquainted. When Cathalina got upstairs, out of breath and excited, the
room was full. Hilary and Lilian were fully dressed. Pauline, Helen,
Eloise and Juliet were still in their usual study-hour habiliments.
Isabel’s slippered feet peeped out from her white night-robe, and her
kimono was only gathered around her shoulders.

“We went down, Cathalina, as we said we would, but Miss Randolph was
telephoning and we did not dare knock. What is it? Any news? Hilary and
Lilian were both speaking at once, while the other girls, in hushed
silence, waited for Cathalina to get her breath and reply.

“Calico isn’t in. I’m to go at once and show them where I saw Betty
last. Miss Randolph said for me to get a wrap and come down, and for
everybody to go to bed. I guess she meant for me to think that Betty is
just lost in the woods. Oh, girls, if I just hadn’t gone on! Here we
have been having a good time and maybe Betty——”

“Hush, Cathie,—it wasn’t your fault,” said Hilary. “Come, now, let’s not
imagine the worst. I’ll go downstairs with you, Cathalina, even if we do
get scolded. Here is your coat. You’d better have a scarf or something
on your head, too. Miss Randolph is right; everybody ought to go to bed.
Come over in the morning, girls, and you will probably find Betty here.”

Such was Hilary’s influence that the girls, Isabel and Virgie shivering
with nervousness, departed at once to their rooms to crawl into bed, and
after declaring that they should not sleep a wink, to fall sound asleep
not to waken until the rising bell should wake them.

By the time Cathalina had gone downstairs, Miss Randolph was ready. She
smiled at Hilary and Lilian, told them to go to bed, took Cathalina’s
arm and started. Capable Mickey was on hand, as Cathalina was glad to
see, and helped them into the small car which had been brought around in
front of Greycliff Hall. There was several men on horseback, armed with
large flashlights.

It seemed only a minute before they came to the bridle path which
started off the main road. Then Cathalina and Miss Randolph were put on
horses and led along the path until they came to the spot where
Cathalina said Betty had stopped. With flashlights they examined the
place and saw the hoof marks where Calico had stampeded. Cathalina
wondered why she and Miss Randolph had not been put on horseback at
first, then shudderingly realized that they might need the car for
Betty. As soon as Cathalina had identified the spot, she and Miss
Randolph were led back to the car to wait while the search went on; but
just as they started, a loud whinny was heard from the depths of the
woods further on, and the men started in that direction. “That is our
horse!” exclaimed Miss Randolph. “It must be!”

“Why don’t they call to Betty?” asked Cathalina.

“They will pretty soon,” replied Miss Randolph, and sure enough, there
were a few loud hails that came to their ears as they sat in the car.

Presently, one of the men came to report that the horse had been found,
the saddle partly off, and the bridle so caught in a strong branch that
the animal could not get away. “Miss Betty was not anywhere near the
horse, nor near the place where the horse must have bolted. We think
that it would be better for you and Miss Cathalina to go back to the
Hall. We are intending to stay out all night, if necessary, to find the
girl.”

Cathalina looked around at the shadows, the dark trees and bushes,
wondering if Betty were somewhere among them and thought of what Lilian
had said in the afternoon about its all being so beautiful “when every
thing was safe and happy.”



CHAPTER IX: WATER WINGS


It looked very much as if this were Betty’s final adventure. She lay
upon the ground, on one side, where she had rolled from the elevation
about the trunk of a huge tree. Both arms were over her head, for she
had tried to catch the branches as she was thrown. Tossed over the
bushes, she had just escaped being hurled against the tree, but had
struck her head on one of its large roots as she fell. Her face was
pale, her hands and arms limp, her brown hair a tumbling mass about the
dark collar and shoulders of her riding coat. For a long time she lay
so, then gradually began to come to a very sick consciousness of her
condition and surroundings. Her arms were stiff as she drew them down to
hold an aching, dizzy head. She tried to raise herself on her elbow, but
fell back again and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, they
rested on a little ground squirrel that sat at attention on a projection
of the root which had made the large lump on Betty’s head, as she later
discovered by the stain there.

“Hello, little chap,” she said, whereat the chipmunk whisked out of
sight behind the tree. Betty tried to think what had happened, and
turned over on her back, her arm under the bruised head, looking now
into the leafy branches of the big elm. A fat wood thrush flew upon one
of the lower limbs and sang “Come to me,” most consolingly. Every dark
spot upon his breast was in view, and he spread his wings, preened his
feathers, turned this way and that, changed the key of his song, went
from major to minor, and tinkled his little musical bell from time to
time.

“Aren’t you a darling?” asked Betty, smiling a little crooked smile.
“Oh, yes; I got thrown. It was Calico. I’m supposed to be ‘boning’ on
Lit., and it’s little Betty who will have to get herself out of this
mess. I can’t be so awfully far in this woods. But I imagine that Calico
has found his way home. Maybe they will come after me. No broken bones
anyway, unless my head,” and Betty smiled again her drawn smile. “Now
I’m _going_ to sit up!” And sit up she did. She gathered up her loose
hair, wet and stained, and finding still a hairpin or two, fastened it
on top of her head, away from the aching lump. “My, it’s getting dark.
I’ll have to hurry.”

But there was no hurrying for Betty. She crawled to the tree and drew
herself up against it. “If I could only see where the sun is, I could
tell the direction,” she thought. Then she wondered if she were near
enough to the lake to hear it and listened attentively. She could not be
very far from the bridle path, and yet the horse had run into the woods
for quite a distance. Oh, well, she didn’t know what would happen, but
she might as well try to get out of the woods some way. Deciding on the
direction, she staggered from tree to tree at first, but came to no
clearing, and it kept growing darker. It was hard to keep in any one
direction when there were so many thick bushes to go around, and the
time seemed very long. Every little while Betty would have to sit down,
all sick and dizzy, to rest. The night air was chilly and little noises
startled her.

Finally, she seemed to come into a narrow path, and presently she heard
the sound of waves. She had at last come through that almost
impenetrable woods to the lake shore. “Now I can find the way home,” she
thought, though what part of the shore she would reach she had no idea.

Feeling her way along slowly, Betty would lose the path at times, then
find herself back upon it again, and while she watched, for fear she
might walk over the edge of some bluff, she saw a glimmer through the
trees, then found herself before an open door from which shone the
feeble light of a lantern. She staggered in, and dropped into a straight
chair which was propping open the door. At once she heard voices
outside, and began seriously to doubt the wisdom of her walking into the
place. She looked around. There was a long table roughly made and upon
it stood bottles of chemicals and different tools. This was no real
house,—what had she stumbled upon? Could this be the house over the
cave? But it was too late to get away, for they were almost at the door.
Betty could hear the conversation now. It was partly in English, partly
in simple German, and Betty thought to herself that, after all, having
studied German was not such a waste of time as she had felt. There were
words here and there which she did not recognize, but to her horror she
realized that these were the men who were responsible for the attempt on
the bridge. They were explaining to some one evidently in authority over
them, and excusing themselves for their failure. The other man spoke
harshly, telling them that there would be a search and they must conceal
the evidences of their work at this place.

“Tomorrow the government boat will be down here. Fishing pretence will
not deceive them. They will search everywhere. The secret service men
are already on the trail. Signal for the hydroplane. You can work for
White Wings till this blows over. Throw all that stuff into the lake.
Did you remove all the bombs from the cave?”

Betty’s heart sank as she recognized the voice. It was that of Captain
Holley. She rose, having some wild idea of trying to escape, but did the
best thing that she could have done under the circumstances. Fright,
chill, and the injured head were too much for her, and she sank to the
floor by the chair in a faint.

Round the corner of the little house walked the three men and stopped
astonished at the sight of the fallen figure in the doorway. Betty would
have been still more frightened if she could have seen the revolvers
drawn, and heard Captain Holley’s angry exclamation as he discovered who
she was. “It is one of the young ladies from the school,” said he,
stooping over her. Betty was regaining her senses, but did not dare
move. Stepping over her, still with revolver in hand, he went inside and
looked around to see if she had any companion.

“She has seen too much. Throw her in the lake,” growled one of the men.

“There is no one else here,” said Captain Holley, returning. Lifting
Betty he laid her on a bench which stood against the wall inside. “She
has been thrown, I judge, and has come through the woods.”

“They will be hunting for her, too,” said the same man who had spoken.

“If they catch us, it will be better if we have treated her well,” spoke
the second man.

“If they get us, they can prove nothing unless she tells them something.
Throw her in the lake, I say.”

A sharp reproof from Captain Holley stopped further remarks, and the two
men began to bundle up various articles, with the bottles and other
things on the table. “Row out a little distance before you drop them,”
was the order.

As the men left the room, Betty moaned a little, to give warning that
she was conscious, and Captain Holley came over to look at her. Taking a
flask from his pocket, he poured a small dose of something into a dingy
glass which stood by a pitcher on the table, diluting it with water from
the pitcher. Betty opened her eyes and stared at him without a word as
he lifted her head and gave her the stimulant. She drank, not knowing
but it might poison her, for she had little confidence in the gentleman
who was giving it to her. But she felt much better after swallowing the
hot dose and said, “Thank you, Captain Holley,—can you take me home,
please?”

“I do not know,” he replied non-commitally,—“what can I do. I have a
serious errand. I dare not leave you here alone, and I can not take you
home now.”

“Oh, I am afraid of those men,—_do_ not _leave_ me!” cried Betty.

“Did you have a fall?”

“Yes; I waited to pick a flower and told the girls, or Cathalina to go
on.”

“What became of the horse?”

“I don’t know. If he had gone home, I should think they would have come
for me right away. I must have been unconscious a long time.”

“Miss Betty, I have been interested in you for some time. Could you
think of going away with me tonight. Could you forget your prejudice
against my nation? I shall have large sums of money and could make you
happy.” The young man’s eyes sparkled as with perfect poise he stood
looking down on the forlorn Betty.

Betty’s eyes closed in sick surprise. Surely no girl ever listened to a
proposal under such difficult circumstances. While not an actual
assassin, the man had been planning death for her countrymen and
justified it under the name of patriotism for another country. He had
been playing a part at Grant Academy.

“Oh, Captain Holley!” she cried—“I’m too sick to think of anything! No,
of course I would not go away with anybody without my parents’
knowledge! But I do trust you to be good to me,” she added, her lips
trembling.

“You are a very beautiful girl,” said Captain Holley, his cold face
expressing no feeling now. “You will think of me and change your mind.
Come.”

Betty had heard the humming of a motor, but remembered that she must not
show any knowledge of what had been said about the hydroplane.

Putting his arm around the shaken girl, the young officer led her down
some rude steps at the rear of the building to the foot of the bluff.
She thought as she went how cleverly these must be concealed. But as she
reached the bottom, she felt so sick again, that she reeled against her
companion, who picked her up, carried her over the rocks and put her
into something at the water’s edge, something with wings, a dark shadow
in the night, for the moon was hid by clouds.

Betty was fastened in and off they glided, presently rising from the
water and cutting through the cold night air. Betty had ceased to care
what became of her, though she drowsily longed to get to some
comfortable place and go to sleep. These were water wings indeed, more
interesting than the “night hawk,” but how cold it was! Next, they were
descending, upon the water once more, and approaching some landing.

Dazed and stiff, she was lifted out. Captain Holley gave a sharp whistle
and a man came running to the landing. “Take it right back, for they
have need to hurry. They were destroying the contents of the hut, but it
is too late. I saw the vessel lying off to the east as I came. Look out
for the marines. Our men were to row off from land and wait for you,
signaling when they heard the motor. I shall be waiting for you in the
plane, at the accustomed place.”

This was in English, and the reply was in the same language. The young
captain was evidently under strong excitement. He half carried Betty
some little distance to a house, where a stern looking woman opened the
door. To her the officer used a strange language which Betty thought
might be Russian, and they talked rapidly while a fire was being made
and a kettle of water put on the stove. Another man appeared and all
three left the room. There was the noise of furniture being moved, of
people going up and down stairs and talking.

After a little, the woman came in again, made Betty a cup of strong hot
tea and brought it to her on a plate which also contained a piece of
bread and butter and a small, round cake. The little meal was very
refreshing. Betty ate it and watched the woman making hurried
preparations for another lunch, setting several plates on the kitchen
table, for it was into the kitchen that Betty had been brought and
placed in an old-fashioned rocking chair near the stove.

She had just finished the last drop of tea when Captain Holley came
running lightly down the stairs, as she could hear, and entered the
room, drawing up a chair. Catching the eye of the woman, he pointed to
the door and she obediently went out.

“I have had a cot put in the attic with everything that you will need.
It will be safer. Whatever you may hear, do not come downstairs until
morning. Will you remember?”

“Yes.”

“Come in, Sofia. Help this lady upstairs and _give her the key_.”

As Betty left the kitchen, she turned and saw her strange admirer
standing erect and still, in his aviator’s costume, looking after her
with an expression almost stern. She stopped a moment. “Thank you,
Captain Holley, more than I can tell, for your protection.” He did not
reply, but raised his hand in salute.

It was a tiresome climb to the attic for one in Betty’s lame condition,
but at last the woman opened a door at the head of the stairs and
ushered her into a dusty, close place, pointing toward a clean cot in a
space which had been hastily cleared from rubbish. An old wash-stand had
been moved up near the cot and contained water-pitcher and towels, which
Betty was very glad to see. Handing Betty the key, the woman went
downstairs, and Betty turned the key in the lock with great
satisfaction, feeling almost safe, if she was in a strange garret, as
she said afterward. She had known the time when she was afraid of attics
at night, but this was so safe by comparison that she did not think of
being frightened. When she had bathed her face and carefully combed as
much of her hair as was not matted over the wound, she felt more like
the old Betty. Cold compresses felt good to the sore spot and loosened
the hair over it. “I am whole up to date,” she thought, “and perhaps I
can persuade his highness to let me go in the morning. Why, this is an
electric light! I don’t know any place in the country around here that
has it but White Wings. Of course it is White Wings. Where else could a
hydroplane come from? If I hadn’t been so stupid, I would have
recognized it.” A cord dangled from the ceiling with a dingy little bulb
swinging at its end, and Betty carefully located it relative to the bed
before she turned off the light and crawled into a slightly lumpy but
very welcome cot. The coarse gown provided was clean, and the little
pillow soft. Air came from somewhere, though she had seen no windows.
The atmosphere of the place would soon be improved, she concluded.

The tea had made her less sleepy. For some time after she had thanked
Providence for her safety, she lay awake, wondering what Greycliff folks
were doing, what would come of this adventure, and how she was going to
get back. “I need a doughty knight to come and rescue the princess in
the tower!” Betty giggled at the thought and grew drowsy, her head
aching less, until finally she dropped into a slumber perhaps less
disturbed than that of her suite-mates, who were still dressed and
curled up on the outside of their beds. Miss Randolph was sleeping
scarcely at all, and there were men searching the woods and shore for
her all night. Although she knew that Captain Holley was concerned in
this dreadful work as a spy, she felt that he had a fancy for her and
that she was comparatively safe in any refuge of his choosing. The last
sounds that Betty heard were of people hurrying about, an occasional
door closing noisily. The ever-shifting moonlight crept into a little
round window behind some heavy furniture and threw long shadows from the
dusky objects in the attic over the lonely little figure in the old cot.



CHAPTER X: BETTY FINDS HER CAMERA


In the morning, Betty wakened with the feeling that she was too stiff to
move. She had taken cold from the exposure and ached all over. Her head
seemed “two sizes too large,” as she thought, and she lifted it
cautiously from the pillow to look around. Not having her watch, she did
not have any idea what time it might be. Everything was still about the
house, but from the outside she heard bird songs, the chickens, and the
farm animals. “It’s White Wings all right,” said Betty, as she decided
to dress. She turned on the light again, though there was sunlight, if
dim, and she could see at one end of the room a window covered with a
dark curtain. She did not care to traverse the dusty floor till she was
dressed, but when that was at last accomplished, she peered around in
such parts of the place as she could go without fear of bumping a head
already too sore, and found the open, round window behind an old highboy
and a tall bookcase. As she peeped out of the window, she could see the
little ice house and the shed which had been built for the hydroplane.
“Probably they kept the ‘night hawk’ there too,” she thought.

Retracing her steps, she noticed a familiar object, among a pile of
things on a large box near her cot. Could it be? Yes, there was the Red
Cross seal which one of the girls had stuck in one corner. She reached
over, threw aside a pile of old clothing and drew out her camera. It was
covered with dust, but seemed to be unharmed. She looked at once to see
if the film were there, the film with the pictures of the birds, the
scenes and the people of White Wings,—but it had been taken out.

“H’m,” said Betty to herself, “that was why my camera disappeared. That
man was into this work and did not want any pictures of himself thrown
around.” Betty shivered, looked around the attic, and was seized with a
desire to get out of it as soon as possible. Gathering up the few
articles which she had not yet put on, she hurried to the door, key in
hand. The light was dim, and as she fumbled with the key in the lock,
she saw something on the floor, an edge of something white. When she
opened the door, this proved to be folded paper, which she picked up.
She listened a moment. Not a sound inside the house as yet. Betty ran
down the stairs, opened another door, and found herself on the second
floor, in a hall from which bedroom doors opened, bedrooms all upset
from hurried packing. She stopped and listened again, then ran down to
the first floor and unlocked and opened the front door. Ah, freedom felt
so good! But she went into the house again and went through the first
floor, determined to find out if she really were alone. There was no one
in the house. Dishes unwashed and food left standing were on the kitchen
table.

Betty thought of the telephone, then, and took down the receiver before
it occurred to her that the wires would be cut. They would not risk her
waking and trying to communicate with Greycliff. There was, of course,
no response. “Very well,” thought Betty, “if no one comes, I could walk
it and swim the river, or walk around to the bridge. Or, of course,
there are other farm-houses between here and Greycliff. I believe I’d
better get something to eat.” But the chances were that some one would
come, for if these people had been obliged to leave so hurriedly, they
must have been quite sure that they were or would be under suspicion.
Something had happened.

On the pantry shelf stood a bread box containing the best of home-made
bread. There was a refrigerator, also, in which she found butter, milk
and cream, with other things which she did not want. Jam, jelly, pickles
and canned fruit on the shelves might have looked good to her under
other circumstances. But she cut herself one slice of bread, and found a
clean glass into which she poured some milk. Spreading the bread thinly
with butter, she ate it slowly, sipping the milk, preparing herself to
get back to Greycliff if she had to walk! Then she thought of the horses
which she might saddle and ride. And what about the stock, anyhow? Had
they used the horses to carry them away? Very likely. Who had fed the
other stock? She had heard the cows lowing. All that was to be
discovered. She had forgotten about the note. What had she done with it.
Oh, yes, she had put it in her pocket.

Having finished her breakfast, Betty pulled the note from her pocket and
read:

    Little Bettina:

    A word of goodbye. Our cause is discovered. I
    wish that I could take you with me, but my strange
    duties forbid. Do not marry that stupid American
    boy,—but no danger. Our armies will see to that.
    After the war we shall see. I can make you a
    countess.

    In haste—

                                    Rudolph Von Holle.

Betty dropped the note into her lap in perfect surprise. “He came up and
left that note, and has gone, run away from Grant and everything!
‘Stupid American boy,’ indeed! I wonder if he really did care about me.
It’s funny way of caring, and still he has kept anything from hurting
me. Oh, dear! I wish somebody’d come! If it were Juliet or Pauline, the
stock would get fed and the milking would be done, but I don’t feel like
poking about the barns. There might be somebody left around.” Betty
stood a moment, thinking what she ought to do, then decided that her
father and mother would want her to be cautious. Slowly she walked again
to the front door and looked out. She saw nothing, but heard a motor and
quickly withdrew, locking the door. The other outside doors were locked
she knew, for she had carefully tried them before settling down to her
little breakfast. What she feared was the return of the “night hawk” or
the hydroplane, in spite of the note in her hand. Perhaps not all were
suspected and after helping the others off were coming back. There was
the White Wings motor boat, too. These things flashed through her mind
while she stood looking out of the front window in one of the rooms.

It was not the “night hawk.” The sound was different. It was a boat. She
could not see through the trees what sort of a boat it was that was
landing, and waited, all ready to whisk upstairs to the attic and lock
herself in, or to slip out the back way and hide in the woods, if she
could reach them without being seen. The sheltering vines of the little
vineyard on the hillside were not so far away. Like a little Indian maid
she might perhaps slip from covert to covert.

But all this planning was unnecessary. To Betty’s great relief, she saw
marines running rapidly across the way from the picnic grounds and up
the ascent toward the house. But their guns were ready for action, and
Betty drew back from the window, undecided just how to let them know she
was there. In a moment the house was surrounded and a loud voice called,
“Open the door and surrender!” Another voice which she recognized
immediately called, “Betty! Betty! Are you there?”

“Oh, Donald,” she answered. “Yes, I’m here all alone. Tell them not to
shoot!”

Betty hastened to unbolt and unlock the front door and greeted with
smiles of joy the tall captain, who stood there, and Donald, close
behind.

“This is Captain Stone, Betty,” said Donald as the captain stood aside
waving Donald toward the pale little lady who leaned against the
doorway, for Betty was not altogether steady on her feet as yet.

“I surrender, Captain Stone,” said she, with a smile.

“I thought that there might be some of the miscreants left,” said the
captain, returning her smile. “But I prefer to find you this time.”

“No, there does not seem to be a soul here, though I was a little afraid
to go down to the barn. The poor stock is in need of being fed, I
think.”

“I’ll set some of my lads to work,” replied Captain Stone, and turning,
he gave a few orders and disappeared around the corner of the house.

“Are you all right, Betty?” asked Donald anxiously. “You must not stand
here,—come in and sit down and tell me what happened to you.”

“Yes, I will. You look pretty tired yourself, and I imagine that you
have some things to tell, too. My, but I’m glad you came. I was just
wondering what I should do!”

“I suppose the horse threw you.”

“Yes. Did it get home all right?”

“Not until it was found. The bridle got caught in some branches, a sort
of Absalom affair, you know. We did not know what had happened to you,
of course, though the men thought that they could tell by the hoof marks
that the horse got frightened and bolted. You see we were after the men
in this affair and ran into the men that were hunting you.”

“I see. What made you think that I was here?”

“I found one of your gloves in the bushes by those steps that lead down
from the hut.”

“O, Donald! To think that you should find it! I tossed it there on
purpose, but knew that the men would take it away if they found it. I
was terribly stupid and dazed by my fall, but I had sense enough to
think of that. I dropped a handkerchief, too, in another place, but it
did not occur to me while I was in the woods. I was just thinking about
finding my way out.”

“We didn’t find the handkerchief. They must have seen it and picked it
up. We got them just as they were rowing off.”

“The hydroplane did not get there in time, then Captain Holley gave
orders for it to go after them. They were removing bombs and things,
chemicals and everything.”

“Holley! Was he the fellow that brought you here?”

“Yes. But if he hadn’t been there they would have killed me, I guess.
One of the men said, ‘She has seen too much. Throw her in the lake!’”

Donald clenched his fist. “The scoundrel! He is in jail by this time.”

“Did they get Captain Holley?”

“No. He and that ‘scientific farmer’ of Greycliff’s got away. We really
had no proof that any one at White Wings was concerned in this till one
of the two fellows we arrested said something by mistake. I suppose they
thought that the whole affair was discovered and did not take any
chances. Some of the neighbors on the farms around here have been
suspicious of these people, not in any definite way, though. You ought
to have heard all the talk last night and this morning. Several of us
were detailed to help look for you. We were to arrest Holley, or Von
Holle.”

Betty rapidly outlined what had happened the night before, while Donald
possessed himself of one of her hands and held it firmly, living through
the events of the night before with Betty. This was a little
distracting, but Betty was so thankful for Donald’s protection that it
only seemed natural, nor did she have any doubts as to Donald’s state of
mind toward her. She even told him word for word of the strange
proposal, but was not quite prepared for the way in which Donald took
it. Placing her hand back upon her lap, Donald sprang to his feet and
walked across the floor and back.

“Betty! Tell me that you could not think of such a man!”

“Donald Hilton! Sit right down here by me and apologize for thinking
that I could!” Betty dimpled, but was in earnest, as Donald could see.
He dropped down upon the sofa again and duly apologized.

“It makes me go crazy to think of what danger you were in. Betty,
_could_ you wait for me? If I get through this war, may I come back to
you? You know well enough how dearly I love you,—don’t you? If I could
only think you cared enough for me!”

“Don’t be too humble, Donald. Who was it that looked into the mirror of
my fate?”

“Betty!”

“Besides I need somebody to take care of me,—no more adventures for me!”

Foolish, perhaps, but happy conversation followed, about when they first
met, the mirror on Hallowe’en, the skating at the Ice Carnivals, and
other occasions at school. “I knew that you were my girl when we first
skated together,” said Donald. “See here,” and Donald took from his
pocket a little leather case. “Here is the picture of the girl of all
the world for me, and the little pansy that caught on my button that
Hallowe’en night. They never leave me.”

Betty noticed how white and worn Donald seemed and thought to ask him if
he had had any breakfast.

“Why no, Betty, none of us have. We thought that there would be
something here, though if you had not been here, we would have kept on
hunting.”

“There is plenty here. Let me show you the things in the pantry. I’ll
fix you something nice.”

“Indeed not. You are going to lie down and rest here, while I shut the
doors and keep the boys out. Everybody will want some hot coffee. Chuck
Williams will do the cooking. It was not by chance that he was put on
this detail. Wait till you taste his coffee. I don’t think it will hurt
you for once.”

“Oh, I take a cup occasionally. You are so good, Donald,” she added, as
Donald covered her with a light cover which was folded on the end of the
sofa. The marines were now coming to the house, and she and Donald could
hear their conversation.

The stock had been fed and watered. Pails of warm milk were being
carried into the kitchen, and Betty could hear the voice of some one in
charge whom she supposed to be “Chuck Williams.” Donald warned the
sailor lads not to disturb the weary lady in the front room and listened
to some good-natured joking at his expense. A fire was made in the stove
and it was not long before the aroma of fresh coffee stole into the
front room where Betty lay resting. How different this was. She was
perfectly safe, in the hands of her own people, and, best of all, with
Donald to manage everything. He came in soon with a cup of coffee and a
little sandwich made of bread and butter and blackberry jam.

“Have you had anything yet?” asked Betty.

“No, but I shall in a minute. I was just thinking that I had not
finished telling you how we knew you were here. After I found the glove
I went right back to Greycliff. That was early this morning,——”

“Then you were up all night!”

“Surely; that is what soldiers and sailors are for.”

“I have made everybody so much trouble,—but go on, Donald.”

“Well, there was great excitement at Greycliff, of course, over your
disappearance, and more when I told of the arrest of the two men. I
showed the glove to Miss Randolph and I never saw such a look as she
gave me. I know that she thought the men had put an end to you, but I
did not think so, someway. I saw some footprints on the wet sand, small
ones with the big ones,—you see it could not have been long after you
had gone that we caught the men. I thought that they would hardly injure
you because of the hue and cry there would be, and the approach of the
hydroplane and its swift retreat made me think of White Wings as the
most likely place. I can’t say that there was so much sense in my
reasoning, but it proved to be true.

“Now for the part that I will have to give Holley credit for, though you
can imagine how I feel toward _him_! While I was trying to cheer up Miss
Randolph and telling her that I was going to try to hurry off our party
to White Wings, one of the girls came running in with a note in her
hands. She had gone into Louise Holley’s room for something and had seen
this note on the bureau,—it was more of a notice, that read, ‘Tell Miss
Randolph to look at White Wings for Betty.’ Louise had had a telephone
message last night about nine o’clock, Miss Randolph said, but nobody
thought anything of it, for her brother often telephoned. It must have
come from White Wings instead of from the academy.”

“Then Louise was gone?”

“Yes, and Prof. Schaefer, too. One of the stable men who had gone with
me to Greycliff, and was waiting outside to see if there had been any
news, said that he came rather late from the village, and saw the
professor taking Louise to the station. They seemed to be in a hurry,
and were carrying suitcases and bags, but as the girls are sometimes
called home he thought nothing of it, and the excitement over you put it
out of his mind. They were getting ready to come after you with the
_Greycliff_ when we put off, and I am surprised that they have not
gotten here before this.”

“Perhaps the motor is out of fix. I thought that perhaps you had come in
the _Greycliff_.”

“No. We had our own launch.”

“Now do go and get a good breakfast, Donald, please.”

Protesting at being sent away, Donald yielded and carrying Betty’s empty
cup, for she drank the coffee to please him, went into the kitchen to do
full justice to such food as remained.

It was not long before Betty heard a boat, then girls’ voices, and knew
that the _Greycliff_ had arrived. Donald heard them, too, and joining
Betty, went out in front to meet them. There were Cathalina, Hilary,
Lilian and Helen, with “Patty” and Miss Perin.

“Oh, Betty, Betty, Betty!” was the chorus. “All the girls wanted to
come,” said Lilian, after the first greetings were over, “but Miss
Randolph wouldn’t let them. How are you Betty?”

“All right,—a little shaky. Oh, how glad I shall be to go back to the
good old every-dayness!”

“You won’t wait to pick a flower or two?”

“Indeed not!”

Mickey was conferring with the captain of the marines, and the Greycliff
janitor and his wife, with bags and bundles, hastily packed, were going
into the house, where they would stay a few days, or until some one
could be found to run the farm. “We’ll send ye a couple o’ hired men
tomorry,” said Mickey to the janitor, as he left their dooryard to go
back to the boat.

Donald went with the party to the boat, helped Betty into a comfortable
seat and said his farewells with rather a sober face.

“Keep out of danger, Betty,” said he.

“I will. I wish I could ask the same of you, but I wouldn’t be very
patriotic, would I?”

Several interested marines joined Donald and watched the _Greycliff_ and
the girls disappear over the white caps.

Betty, too, watched Donald as long as she could see him, then turned her
attention to her friends, who were looking at her with affection.

“I look like a battered war casualty, don’t I?”

“Not very much battered, but pretty pale. You have been through enough
to kill you. Weren’t you frightened terribly?” asked Cathalina.

“My fall dulled my intellect, I guess,” laughed Betty. “I was frightened
several times and then I got used to it. Was any word sent to father?”

“Fortunately not,” said Cathalina. “Miss Randolph was considering a
telegram when they found the word from Louise. She may have sent one;
no,—I think that she would wait till we actually had you at Greycliff,
then telegraph, so they would not worry if anything were in the papers.
When Donald came to the Hall, he said that the woods had been thoroughly
covered by the men hunting for you, and by the marines hunting for those
men, and that they were going down to White Wings. After they had
arrested the men, a hydroplane came nearly to the shore and went away
again, seeing their lights, I suppose. Since the only hydroplane
anywhere around was at that place they thought some one there must be
interested.”

“They must have found out some more, for Donald seemed to know about our
farmer and Captain Holley.”

“My, Betty, what a heroine you are,—kidnapped and imprisoned in a tower
till the prince arrived.”

“Something like that. I thought of it myself this morning, but it began
to get on my nerves.”

“How would you like to own a flying machine?”

“Not at all. You girls may have all my rides in hydroplanes.”

The experience put Betty to bed for several days, more because of the
exposure and excitement than because of any trouble from the blow upon
her head. She was disgusted at being put in the “pest house,” but quite
enjoyed the rest and the attentions of the girls, who brought her her
books, kept track of the lesson assignments for her, and were forbidden
by the nurse to mention the late adventure. By Wednesday she was in her
class again and preparing for a special examination in “Lit.” A bright
letter from Donald expressed concern for her hard experience, but much
happiness over their understanding. “I will write you how many
submarines we sink, for I sail with the next convoy. The ‘stupid young
American’ is on his way and isn’t worried now in regard to whom you will
wait for! That note was characteristic, but he would regard you as a
beautiful possession. I wish that I could tell you on what boat and when
we go, but that is something I do not know myself.”



CHAPTER XI: THE COLLEGIATE FIELD MEET


Isabel Hunt was gracefully flying over wooden horses in the gymnasium
and landed, after the last jump, in front of Lilian and Cathalina, who
had just arrived after a swim in the pool. Fresh and pink after their
shower, they were considering whether to take any further exercises or
to let well enough alone.

“Think of swimming in the pool when there is a perfectly good lake
outside!” exclaimed Lilian. “Don’t you hope this miserable cold spell
will soon be over? If it doesn’t warm up before Commencement I shall be
perfectly disgusted!”

“Oh, it always does. Besides, if the lake weren’t so rough, we would go
in,—the lake water is always cold anyhow. We have to have a few storms
once in a while. But it is fine and sunshiny today. Let’s take a run out
to the athletic field.”

“All right. There are Pauline and Hilary, Isabel. I wonder if they would
not like to come, too. We can practice for our fifty-yard dash.”

Lilian beckoned to Pauline and Hilary, who joined the girls presently,
and the group walked to the athletic field. This was back of the
gymnasium and separated by a fence from the pastures where grazed the
riding horses. There were very few interscholastic events and games, but
the trustees had provided enough seats under a canopy to accommodate
about five hundred spectators. The tennis courts stretched beyond.

“Do you suppose that we shall be able to remain friends after the
contests?” asked Isabel. “There is the collegiate field meet, in which
seniors and juniors will be pitted against each other in a desperate
battle. Then there are the canoe races in which the non-beatable juniors
meet the unsurpassable seniors. What will happen then, who can
foretell?”

The girls laughed, and Lilian said, “I was needing some new words for a
poem on our athletics for the Star. ‘Non-beatable’ and ‘unsurpassable’
are good, though I am not sure how they will fit into the meter.”

“There is one thing, Isabel,” said Hilary, “which may soothe the
disappointment of either side; the future success of the Whittiers, when
you and Virgie win honors for us all in the inter-society debate. All
our crowd are Whittiers, you know.”

“It is a great responsibility,” said Isabel, gravely shaking her head.
“Absolute split in the Psyche Club unless the Whittier Society wins in
debate!”

“Come on, girls,” said Hilary. “I’ll beat the bunch in a dash to the
fence where the horses are looking over at us. The first one who touches
it wins.”

“I accept the challenge,” said Isabel. “Line up, girls. On your mark.
Get set. Go!”

The five girls scampered like mad. Five gym suits, five pairs of gym
shoes on flying figures crossed the field. Cathalina gave it up when she
was two-thirds of the way across and sat down in the grass to laugh.
Prince, Poky and Lady Gay, were looking over the fence and had hoped for
lumps of sugar, threw up their heads, snorted, and with cavortings and
kicking of heels, fled, galloping over the pasture.

Isabel and Hilary touched the fence at the same time; Lilian,
breathless, bumped into Pauline and both sat down suddenly. Both were
convulsed with laughter, and Pauline leaned back against the fence
remarking that it was by intention that she sat there. “If Lilian and I
had not run into each other I would have beat you, Hilary,” she
continued.

“You were laughing too much,” returned Hilary. “Isabel and I paid strict
attention to business and won. Shake hands, Izzy.”

“You shake hands with the _defeated_, Hilary,” said Lilian, holding out
her hand to Hilary, who pulled her to her feet, and hastened to hold out
her other hand to Pauline. She scrambled to her feet without assistance,
however.

Cathalina was still sitting on the ground embracing her knees, as the
rest of the girls came toward her. “Anything the matter, Cathalina?”
inquired Hilary.

“Oh, no; I was just laughing so hard I had to stop. And you ought to
have seen yourselves and the way the horses looked at you. They ought to
be used to such performances by this time.”

“They probably enjoyed it.”

“I shall enter the result of this contest upon the sporting page of the
_Greycliff Star_,” said Lilian. “Will you write it up, Cathalina? You
saw it all.”

“I will. Prince won in the pasture, and I suppose you want him
mentioned.”

“Yes, indeed.”

On the day of the Collegiate Field Meet, almost the entire school was
out to see the events. The ranks of the Faculty were invaded for judges.
Patty West Norris and Miss Perin were among the popular ones. Music
teachers and instructors, indeed, almost all the women teachers were
present, including Miss Randolph and even Dr. Carver, who was daily
becoming more human. She even had a favorite pupil among the seniors,
one who had Ph.D. aspirations, in whom she was very much interested, and
who returned great admiration for Dr. Carver’s attainments.

The girls were all in good spirits, the day was bright, cool but too
cool, and the athletic grounds were in fine condition. There were little
jokes and some fun, but this was more or less of a serious occasion, for
success in the events might mean a good deal in the final athletic
honors. The All-Around G’s, the class trophies, and the senior silver
trophy to go to one girl for her entire school record,—all were worth
striving for.

Most of the spectators were assembled, either in the seats or scattered
about the field when the junior and senior teams came over from the
gymnasium.

“Start up the new song, Lilian and Eloise,” said Juliet. “Here, get in
front.”

There was some shifting, and Eloise and Lilian, as the “World-renowned
senior songsters,” according to Isabel, took their places in front. They
had collaborated on this newest of senior songs, and the singing seniors
made an effective entrance on the athletic battlefield, eliciting great
applause from the bleachers, where academy girls and such juniors and
seniors as were not taking part in the contest, with the faculty not
engaged as judges, were gathered. The tune was lively, and the girls
made great effort to have the words clearly sung:

  Who would not go to Greycliff?
  Tra-la, la, la, la! Tra-la la, la, la!
  Who would not go to Greycliff,
  To win an All-Around G?
      G.G.G.G.!
  To win an All-Around G!

  In classroom contests seniors win,
  They’ve put it over, thick and thin,
  In basket-ball and swimming, too,
  Their women shine, indeed they do,—
  Oh, now look out, we’re coming in,
  To get that All-Around G!
      G.G.G.G,
  To get that All-Around G.

The senior girls wore their colors, silver and blue, around their arms
in a band, and after parading in front of the spectators they settled
down on the benches, to wait until the contests began. The juniors,
likewise wearing their colors, green and gold, modestly let the seniors
have their little parade, applauded the song, and scattered around in
groups. As usual, there were more juniors taking part than seniors.

“Deeds, not words,” announced Isabel.

Cathalina and Betty were going to take part in the broad jump, the relay
broad jump, and in the basket-ball and base-ball throwing, but would not
run. Juliet was the star runner among the seniors and they expected her
to score high in the high jump. Eloise, too, was quick and good at
either high or low hurdles. After much practice, in the gymnasium and
outside, for these several school years, the girls knew pretty well the
ability of the different girls entered for the events. The great
question, however, was who would win. There is something exciting about
any contest, for often the most surprising things occur, and no one is
sure of the result until the end.

First a fifty-yard dash was called. Four ran at a time and four teachers
were taking the time for each heat. Two seniors and two juniors ran
first, Juliet and Jane Mills, Isabel, and a chubby little junior, who
did not look as if she could run, but did. It was quite evident that
Juliet made the best time. Sometimes it was hard to tell, when the
contestants were more evenly matched. Hilary and Lilian were called next
and ran with Virginia Hope and another junior.

“Hilary and Lilian are pretty nearly even,” said Cathalina to Betty. “I
shouldn’t be surprised if they do pretty well.”

“Look at Virgie!” exclaimed Betty. “She is just skimming over the
ground! I didn’t know she could run like that! Good for you, Virgie,”
she called, as Virginia came off the track and toward them.

“Thanks, dear enemy.”

There were many entered for the first dash and some time was spent, but
at last it was finished; the judges and timekeepers consulted, and
presently announced the winners as Juliet Howe for first place, Hilary
Lancaster, second, and Virginia Hope, third.

“Two seniors!” exclaimed Eloise. “First place counts five, and second
place three, and the juniors only one point. That is a fine start for
us.”

The standing broad jump came on next. In this, again, there were many
entries. Cathalina, to her horror, was called on first to jump. She had
not outgrown all her timidity and the eyes of all this audience were
almost too much for her. Her first effort was graceful but short. “Try
it again, Cathalina,” called Hilary encouragingly when her turn came
again. “Never mind how you look, but jump for your class!” Spurred on by
this, Cathalina gave a prodigious leap and did very well indeed. She
took her third chance, but did not surpass her second attempt. Patricia
Norris and Miss Perin were very busy measuring and recording. To her own
surprise, Lilian had made the best record in this event, Virginia won
second place, and Dorothy Appleton, third.

“Six points for the seniors,” was Betty’s comment, “and three for the
juniors in this event.”

“We are still ahead,” said Eloise, “and a good deal ahead.”

“Yes, on this, but is anybody watching the ball throwing? I guess we
can’t keep track of it all.”

“Evelyn is watching that. Diane and Pauline are doing some fine
basket-ball throwing. They’re calling you, Betty, now.”

The bleachers were deserted, everybody wanting a closer view of the
jumping and ball throwing, which were going on at the same time. The
spectators stood around in groups, according to their interest in the
several events.

“Let’s have the relay broad jump, Miss Perin, while everybody is in the
jumping mood, can’t we?” asked Cathalina.

“It is on next,” replied Miss Perin, “then the hurdles, and last the
relay race.”

The relay broad jump started badly for the seniors. Jane Mills fully
expected to break the record, she said afterward, but slipped, digging
her heel firmly into the ground, yet, alas, sitting down back of them.
The distance measured from where she sat to the starting place was not
one to boast about. Hilary really did break the record, but Isabel,
roused to a supreme effort, landed six inches beyond Hilary’s mark, and
although she fell, it was forward and did not spoil her feat. The
juniors loudly applauded her, both then and later when they had won the
event.

In the ball throwing, meanwhile, Pauline, Diane and Juliet were making
fine records, but Hilary went over from the relay jumping to win first
place in throwing the basket-ball, and was second to Diane’s first in
throwing the base-ball. Juniors scored among all those entered for the
hurl ball event.

“There are so many of them,” sighed Evelyn, “that they have more chances
to win.”

“I don’t know that it makes so much difference,” replied Dorothy, “if we
have an expert or two on.”

“But we haven’t enough experts to be in everything when we are limited
in entering events.”

“They don’t want us to overdo our little selves,” answered Dorothy with
a smile.

Lilian in the “sixty yard low hurdle,” and Eloise in the high hurdle
were light and graceful, carrying off the honors. Juliet, to the
surprise of every one, was only second in the high hurdle. Juniors won
second and third place in the low hurdle event.

“Oh, why didn’t you do the low hurdle, too?” Lilian regretfully asked
Eloise.

“They wouldn’t let me enter any more, and I really forgot it when I
entered to my limit in the other events.”

A seventy-five-yard dash followed the hurdle events, and last came the
interesting relay race. One senior and one junior ran, handing the stick
to the next senior and junior, and so one. This was the most exciting of
all the events. The spectators stood as close to the track as they were
permitted to come, the academy girls rooting for their favorites.

In this event, the juniors started under a handicap, for one of their
best runners turned her ankle, and could scarcely get over the remaining
distance. It was to Virginia that she handed her stick, but although
Virgie ran like the wind, the seniors were already much in the lead.
Some of the ground lost was recovered by the juniors, but at the end the
junior stumbled and fell.

“Goodbye, juniors!” exclaimed Isabel as the senior covered the distance
to the final goal before the junior had risen to her feet. “I most
certainly didn’t think it would be as bad as that!”

The events were over. All that remained was the announcement by the
judges of the winning class, and the awarding of the trophy. The girls
who had not kept account of the results in the separate events were
uncertain, some hoping, each for her own class.

“I am sure that we have it,” said Evelyn, running over her record and
comparing it with that of another senior girl.

At last Miss Randolph rose from a seat in the bleachers where she had
been conferring with the judges, and announced that the silver cup was
awarded to the senior class. The events have been of unusual interest
said she. “Both classes deserve great credit for their good work and
spirit of good sportsmanship. I congratulate the seniors, and remind the
juniors that they have another year.”



CHAPTER XII: ON THE RIVER


“Girls, we’ve simply got to beat the seniors this time,” announced
Isabel to her crew, as they made ready to take out the junior canoe one
afternoon.

“I’d like to know how,” said one of the junior girls. “They have so many
good paddlers and girls with a good deal of endurance, too. Then they
are having regular practice, too.”

“Not any too regular,” said Isabel. “If I didn’t have to work so on that
debate, I could do more, but after all, I think we can manage to get
enough practice in if we are only determined enough. It’s determination
and management that we need, girls. Now listen. The senior girls are
interested in a lot of other things. There is the senior play, you know,
and practices for that, besides the glee club and other things.”

“We are in those, too.”

“Some of them,” Isabel admitted. “But if we practice regularly and often
say nothing to the seniors about our extra practice, and make up our
minds to learn to paddle _as no juniors ever did before_, we shall win
that race, depend upon it.”

“Some of those girls are your very best friends, Isabel. Can you and
Virgie stoop to such base deception?”

“‘Base deception’ is good,” laughed Isabel. “How about it, Virgie?
Didn’t I tell the girls that we were going to beat them in the canoe
race?”

“You did.”

“Did they hesitate to beat us in the field meet? The answer is ‘no’!
Will they be just as good friends of mine if we beat ’em? Yes. If they
notice how we are practicing, will they care? No.”

“I think that the main thing is to learn to do it together,” said
Virgie. “Most of this crew are pretty good paddlers, but we need to
learn to make the stroke exactly together and practice speed. Nobody can
lose her head at that critical time.”

“I should think not!” exclaimed Beatrice Lee, the junior who had rallied
Isabel on deceiving her friends. “The seniors have ever so much on their
minds, too. Commencement doings soon, and friends coming and
everything,—clothes and all. It may be mean to gloat over hindrances to
your enemies, but one can’t help thinking of those things when
considering the chances.”

“We are not gloating, but we need encouragement when we think of
entering any contest against that crew. There are Hilary and Pauline,
strong as can be, and fine in any of the water sports. Then Eloise and
Diane are wiry and quick, and the rest are right at home in a canoe. I
felt a little discouraged when I thought about them, but then I began to
think of our own crew, and I tell you girls, I feel sure that we can do
it if we will!”

“Both shall and will, then,” declared Beatrice.

Later, on the same afternoon, the senior canoe came out. “Do you know,
girls,” said Pauline, who was captain of the crew, “we shall have to do
some good practicing. We have not rowed or paddled together since last
year. The way we paddled the last time was a disgrace, everybody for
herself!”

“Remember that it was the first time we had been out in the big canoe.”

“Yes, Diane, I know, but we must be accustomed to paddling together.”

“We did pretty well by the time we stopped.”

“‘Pretty well’ won’t do in a race. That is a good crew of juniors.”

“You are right, Pauline,” said Hilary. “If we want to beat we shall have
to work.”

“Isabel declared that they were going to beat,” remarked Cathalina, who
had come down to watch the proceedings. “They were out a long time this
afternoon.”

“Is that so? Well, stand by me, girls, when I call a practice, and I
believe that we can beat our ‘jolly juniors.’ Nobody is to worry, just
work.”

Some of Isabel’s crew complained at times that she would not let them do
anything else. “We can’t even get any swimming in, nothing but paddle,
paddle, paddle,” said Beatrice, half in fun, half in earnest.

“Wait till this race is over and then you can swim all you want to. I
have great hopes, for the seniors had not begun to paddle in their canoe
until after the field meet, whereas we had some practice right away, as
soon as the river was fit for it. Some of their crew are down in the
lake swimming this minute, and if I’m any judge, Pauline will not be
able to get them out till late.”

“Don’t you think this is fun, though, Beatrice?” asked Virgie, who
thoroughly enjoyed the canoeing.

“Oh, yes, I do, but it is work, too. The senior academy crew is out
today, let’s get them to race us. We ought to practice on paddling
against them.”

“That is a good idea, Beatrice. It will be more fun. Hoo-hoo! Senior
academy!”

The senior academy captain answered Isabel’s hail and agreed that it
would be great fun to race. “Pretend that we are the senior
collegiates,” said she.

“We will,” answered Isabel. “Let’s go back to the starting place and
race as long as you feel like it.”

“Maybe we can beat you,” bravely spoke the academy captain.

“All right, mayhap you can. Try it. If you do, I’ll bring you a pan of
fudge tonight.”

“I’d like that fudge, as scarce as candy is now.”

Laughing and joking the two crews paddled back to the place up the river
from which the race always started, leaving a little group of judges at
the tree which marked the goal. “Look out for them a little,” said
Isabel to her crew. “They are pretty good, but if they get nervous, no
telling what will happen. They are taking it seriously. Give them lots
of room.”

“They are good,” said Virginia. “I watched them the other day when I was
waiting for you all. But I think we can beat them.”

“Mercy, Virgie, if there is any doubt of that, let me ‘bend to my
oars’!”

“They are only one class behind ourselves, remember, Beatrice.”

“Did you hear that, Martha, and the rest of you?”

Not having any one up river to give a signal, Isabel herself, after
asking if the other crew were ready, gave it after her usual
fashion,—“On your mark, get set, go!” Onward glided the two canoes, the
girls all striving for absolutely correct paddling, and increasing speed
as they thought necessary. The juniors had in mind the coming race and
shot ahead very soon. The seniors, academy, redoubled their efforts in
order to gain lost ground, and as they were not equal to the juniors
either in strength or in practice, found it a difficult task. The
juniors slowed down a little, because they had entered this race chiefly
to see how it would seem to have company, most of the way, at least. The
other crew thought this their opportunity, and with all their might sent
their canoe ahead of the other. But, alas, one paddle “caught a crab,”
as the girls said; her paddle flew out of her hands; she leaned after
it, causing great disturbance among the crew, and the canoe, whirling
across the stream, struck the junior canoe. In a moment the girls were
in the river, both crews.

Isabel came up, blowing the water from her lips, and found Virgie
opposite to her as both reached the overturned canoe and clung to it.
Other heads were bobbing up around them.

“Virgie,” said Isabel, “You see if our girls are all here while I swim
after the kids. I think they can all swim, but you never can tell what
they may hit.”

Isabel did not stop to think that the girls were never permitted to go
canoeing unless they could swim, but had very clearly in mind her own
accident. The presence of one of the best swimmers in the school was of
great encouragement to the younger girls, some of whom were frightened
by the sudden overturning. All had come to the surface, however, and
were swimming for dear life, or floating to rest. Isabel helped catch
the canoe, but took one white-faced girl to shore immediately. It was
not far, and there was no such current as there had been when Cathalina
and Hilary had gone after Isabel.

“All’s well that ends well,” called Isabel as the other girls brought in
the canoe. “You S. A’s won the race, if you did upset us to do it. I’ll
be over with that fudge. At what time do you want it? I’ll make it right
after dinner.”

“Just before study hours, Isabel. Will it be patriotic to eat it?”

“If it is patriotic to make it. But this is some sugar that Virgie had
left over last year and we discovered it in a box she left at Greycliff.
It was only hard, and isn’t hurt for candy.”

“Isn’t Isabel Hunt wonderful!” inquired the senior academy captain as
Isabel left the group.

“Indeed she is. She can do _anything_.”

“It was good of the girls not to be mad at our accident, upsetting them
and everything.”

“Oh, Isabel is like that. She wouldn’t be cross unless you meant to do
something. And I think she felt responsible because they got us to race
with them.”

The senior collegiates, meanwhile, heard that the senior academy had
beaten the junior collegiates in a race, and Isabel did not enlighten
them, nor would she say which of further conflicting reports were true.
She only looked mysterious and remarked, “It was a sad blow. O, what a
fall was there, my countrymen!”

“She quoteth Shakespeare, girls. It’s no use. Anyhow Mickey said that
the two canoes upset.”

“Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,” continued Isabel, with a
dramatic gesture. “By the way, I have to see Mickey. Please excuse me,
fair hostesses.”

Virgie had offered to make the candy, and the girls of Lakeview Suite
had beguiled Isabel into their headquarters in the hope of getting the
truth about the latest excitement. Isabel had seen Mickey cross the
front lawn and bethought herself of an errand.

“Mickey,” said she as soon as she had reached that busy man without whom
it seemed Greycliff could scarcely exist. “Mickey, I wish that you would
investigate that place in the river. I really believe that there is
something sticking up that caught that girl’s paddle. And we are going
to have some real races pretty soon.”

“Oi think the only ‘crab’ was hersilf, miss. She did not know how to
handle a paddle,” returned Mickey.

“That may be. I know the girls were excited, but I thought when I was
swimming after the girls that my feet hit something there.”

“All right, thin. Oi’ll row out tomorry.”

“Thank you, Mickey, a thousand times! If you have time now, I’ll show
you where I think it is. Here are Bee and Martha now. Come on, girls,
let’s show Mickey where we think there might really be a ‘crab’.”

The girls accompanied Mickey, showed him the exact spot at which the
canoes upset, and on the following day, Mickey and one of the other men
rowed out with a pole to investigate. There, indeed, he found part of an
old tree that had doubtless drifted down with the early spring floods
and had become lodged in the mud, and perhaps other driftwood at the
bottom of the stream. The branch that was sticking up nearly to the
surface was not very large, but sufficient to catch a paddle or oar.
Some of the girls were watching, as Mickey dislodged the obstruction and
it came to the surface, floating down and guided shoreward by the pole.

“There! I knew something caught my paddle the other day,” said one of
the girls who had had a similar upset in a single canoe. “You all
laughed so when I said that it had, that I did not dare speak of it
again, but I was sure something caught my paddle. It was just those
sprangling twigs.”

Everything was quite safe for democracy, then, on the day of the great
event, the race between the juniors and seniors. The winning crew were
to give a consolation party to the defeated, and the girls had amicably
decided on the menu and ordered the feast together, through a committee
from each class, including the captains of the crews. Pauline said that
it might just as well be charged to the seniors, but Isabel, who was at
the telephone, ordering something from Greycliff Village, soberly said,
“Charge it, please, to the junior class, Isabel Hunt ordering. A check
will be sent as soon as possible, the next day, in fact.”

Pauline laughed and said, “Well, if you do win, you will have to pay the
price.”

“That’s the point of this fine old jamboree, to make the defeated feel
good. I’m prepared to be jolly whoever wins, but of course we are going
to win!”

“It is usual for the defeated to treat the other side.”

“Yes, adding insult to injury. _We_ shall _welcome_ the opportunity to
entertain you!”

“How generous. Don’t you hope it will be fine weather?”

“We’ll have to put it off if it isn’t.”

But the day of the race was ideal. Never crews wore prettier bathing
suits, ready for any experience like that of the junior and senior
academy crews. Each canoe floated a little streamer of class colors and
the crews were in the best of spirits. The Greycliff side of the river
bank was lined with girls, spectators of this contest, so long prepared
for, so soon over. Cathalina, Helen, Betty and Juliet selected a high
point from which they declared they could see nearly the whole course,
at least the finish.

“Which do you think has the better chance, Juliet?” asked Helen.

“Oh, ours, of course,” replied Juliet. “Our girls are so much more
experienced. They have not had as much practice as I had hoped they
might. Several times, when Pauline thought she had them all together,
one or the other would have arranged to practice something or have some
appointment with a teacher. But they do row beautifully together. It
seemed almost perfect the last time I watched them.”

“O, of course, we’ll win,” said Betty.

Cathalina remained silent, considering the affair, as Cathalina was apt
to do.

“You haven’t said a word, Cathalina,” said Betty. “Don’t you think we
are going to win?”

“Ordinarily I would, and Isabel’s being so sure might be an argument
against them if they were bluffing, as Phil says. But you don’t know how
they have been working. I haven’t said anything because I knew our girls
were giving all the time they really could to it, and they are more
experienced in general than most of Isabel’s crew. So, girls, I don’t
know how it will turn out, but I think I can tell you in about fifteen
or twenty minutes!”

“So can we all.”

“Really, I should not mind if Isabel did beat. We beat them in the field
meet and it’s their turn.”

“Why, Cathalina, where is your class spirit?” asked Helen.

“We shall have to deal with you,” said Juliet.

“Oh, Cathalina’s hopeless. She always sees the side of the other party
as well as her own,” declared Betty. “Whatever happens, Cathalina
adjusts herself in two minutes. You can’t disturb the even tenor of her
way for long.”

“Why, Betty, did you get that remark from Father?”

“No, that is my own wise observation. It’s a real comfortable way,
Cathalina, if not popular among what my brother calls boosters.”

“You’re a nice old Betty,” said Cathalina to express her appreciation of
Betty’s refusal to criticise her, “but I shall ‘root’ for the seniors,
for all that.”

“There they come!”

Sweeping around a little curve came the two canoes, the juniors a short
distance in the lead. Their faces were sober and they paid no attention
to the cheering crowd on the bank. With a spurt of speed, the senior
crew overtook the juniors and passed them, but the juniors steadily
regained the ground and crept up on the seniors, who were already doing
their best. Nearer and nearer the goal they came, almost together.
Juniors and seniors on the bank were almost holding their breath. Now
the juniors were on a line with the seniors. Now they had passed them.
Could the seniors regain the advantage?

“Oh, dear,” said Helen, “not much time now; hurry up, seniors! Just a
little more speed, Pauline!”

The seniors redoubled their effort, but it was too late. The junior
canoe shot past the goal more than its length ahead of the seniors. Such
rejoicing of juniors followed! Cheering and clapping of feminine hands
greeted the crew as it disembarked. Isabel was hugged, pounded and
shaken till she cried for relief. “Why, girls didn’t you _expect_ us to
beat? I _told_ you so!”

“We were afraid that it was just your optimism,” said one.

“It was just my determination! I was so scared at first for fear we
would not that I resorted to suggestion for the crew and auto-suggestion
for myself.”

“Gracious! Isabel is studying psychology this year, girls.”

“Oh, don’t think it was all psychology. Not a bit of it. We have
practiced early and late. I’m sure I’ll be paddling is my sleep for a
month.”

“Well, Isabel,” said Pauline, coming up and holding out her hand, “we’ll
have to fold our tents like the Arabs and quietly steal away, won’t we?”

“Not a bit of it. Think of that party tonight! Say, Pauline, I owe you
an apology for my ordering over the telephone in that way, but I was
only trying to make myself believe that we would win. I can scarcely
realize it yet, though we practiced day and night to do it against such
foes.”

“That is very nice of you to say so, Isabel. We did our level best, and
you earned your victory. Now, for the party! But we really ought to give
it.”

“Not at all. The juniors entertain the seniors tonight. Senior yell,
girls,—Seniors, rah! seniors, rah; Rah, rah! Seniors!”

The “Consolation Party” that night presented quite a different scene
from the afternoon. The new summer gowns, in white or bright colors,
were brought out from closets or wardrobes to grace their owners. One of
the society halls was decked for the occasion with flowers and junior
colors and the winning crew composed the reception committee. The
refreshments were served from a pretty table at one end of the long
room, and two junior girls pinned on the guests little canoes of folded
crepe paper, prepared beforehand by the joint committee. They now bore
the label “Junior,” added since the race.

“Do you mind much, Cathalina?” asked Isabel, in almost repentant tones.

“No, Isabel! To tell the truth,—but I must remember that I’m a senior.
Only it seems nice for you to have put it through so wonderfully. The
glory is all yours, so have no regrets.”



CHAPTER XIII: MUSIC AND MASKS


“Oh, the music for our play is too lovely!” exclaimed Lilian, entering
Lakeview Suite and starting to put away her violin.

Isabel who was visiting the girls, looked up inquiringly.

“It’s the Mendelssohn music, you know, written for the Midsummer Night’s
Dream. I wish I were playing in the orchestra. I’ve been helping
practice.”

“Couldn’t you play part of the time with them?”

“Not very well in costume. I might do it for a while, though. I don’t
come on until the third act, and the second scene at that,—Enter
Titania, with her train.”

  “Come, now a rounded and a fairy song;
  Then for the third part of a minute, hence;
  Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
  Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings
  To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
  The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders.
  At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
  Then to your offices and let me rest.”

“Fine, Lilian,” said Isabel, applauding. “Are you glad you decided on
Midsummer Night’s Dream?”

“Yes, indeed; it is going to be too pretty outdoors, the fairies and
everything, and the costumes are perfectly lovely. Miss Randolph bought
new ones, because they have never given this before, and she is
gradually getting a good collection of costumes. Patty and the other
English teachers are just crazy about it.”

“I should think that they would be really crazy by the time all the
practicing and drilling are over. Don’t you think that Patty looks thin,
Cathalina?”

“Yes, Isabel, and it is no wonder. I heard that she is going to France
this summer, but I have not said a word to her about it. She will tell
us if she is.”

“Why, Lilian,” said Hilary, who was reading the play, “you are all wrong
about not coming in until the third act, second scene. It is the second
act, scene one.”

Lilian looked over Hilary’s shoulder at the text. “Sure enough. I forgot
my converse with Oberon. That is what Mrs. Norris is scolding us for,
just learning our parts, without having the whole play in mind, but we
have so many other things to do. It is a good thing that the senior
examinations are all over so early. I don’t know what I would do without
senior week. I wish Mother and Father could come for Commencement week.
They would love seeing the play and all, at least Mother would.”

“Can’t they come?”

“No, not without risking not being in New York when the boys leave. Dick
is expected to be sent over at any time now.”

“Aunt Hilary is coming,” said Hilary, “but Father and Mother will not
this time. Aunt Hilary was the one who wanted me to come to Greycliff.”

“Yes,” said Cathalina, “Hilary and I both owe our Greycliff days to the
suggestions of our aunts.”

“What part have you, Hilary?” asked Isabel.

“I’m Theseus, duke of Athens, aha! And my fair Hippolyta is Pauline,
because, as she says, they thought she was cast for an Amazon. Hippolyta
is queen of the Amazons, you know.”

“I read the play once,” said Isabel, with a laugh, “but I’ll have to
read it up before the play is given or I won’t enjoy it so much. Let me
see,—who’s Hermia?”

“Evelyn, because she is little and dark, and Lysander is Helen. Won’t it
be great?—Lysander and Hermia making love in that soft southern accent?”

“Yes, and Evelyn using her eyes as Hermia. Evelyn couldn’t help it if
she tried.”

“There is another pair of lovers—?”

“Yes, Helena, you know, who is terribly in love with Demetrius, and he
wants Hermia, till the fairies fix that all up.”

“Modern interpretation of Shakespeare by Hilary Lancaster,” murmured
Cathalina.

“Wait till you hear me say with dramatic effect as Theseus,—‘but
earthlier happy is the rose distill’d, than that which withering on the
virgin thorn, grows, lives and dies in single blessedness.’”

“Is _that_ where we get ‘single blessedness’?”

“It is. You have heard of the person, haven’t you, that didn’t like
Hamlet very well when she heard it played, ‘because it was so full of
quotations’?”

“Nor original enough, I suppose,” laughed Isabel.

“Oh, I must tell you girls something funny,” said Cathalina. “Yesterday
I was in here alone, and practicing my lines. I am the first Fairy, and
was saying the lines instead of singing them. I had just broken out with
‘You spotted snakes with double tongue,’—when I saw that new academy
freshman, who has only been here this spring, standing in the door and
looking at me with eyes as big as saucers. Whether she had knocked or
not I don’t know. I stopped, laughing, but I haven’t the least idea that
she understood at all. She gave me a message from Miss Randolph as
quickly as she could, and hurried off without letting me explain.”

“She probably thought that you were in the habit of addressing your
room-mates in that happy way,” said Isabel.

“I have wondered several times what she did think, and laughed right out
in the middle of the night last night and wakened Betty. You thought I
had lost my mind, didn’t you Betty?”

“Yes; but I was glad that you wakened me, for I was having a horrible
dream about Captain Holley’s coming back for me, and it was nice to be
wakened by somebody’s laughing.” Betty’s nerves were not what they might
be since her last experience, but the girls purposely made light of it
all.

At this moment, Diane Percy and Eloise arrived to join the company, and
Virginia peeped in to see if Isabel were there. “Come on in just a
minute, Virgie,” called Isabel. “The girls are telling about the play.
Have you a part, Diane?”

“Yes, I’m Demetrius, and Edith Lane is Helena, because she is the
tallest fair girl we have and we have to have a contrast between her and
Evelyn.”

“What are you, Eloise?”

“Oberon. Neither Lilian or I are really small enough for fairies, but in
the costumes we look smaller. I hope the play will go all right. The
girls are all really working now that the time is so near. They are
rehearsing some of the scenes now out on the campus.”

“Wouldn’t it be awful if it rained and we had to give it indoors?”

“If it rains one day, they will whisk around the program and put the
Glee Club concert on or something.”

“Just think, girls, only two more weeks now for us at Greycliff, and
then we go away forever!” This was Cathalina. “I came with tears, and I
shall probably leave in tears or something like it!”

“I certainly shall shed tears if we don’t win that debate,” said Isabel.

“You will,” said Cathalina. “That comes off next week, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, on our regular night, next Friday night. Come on, Virgie. Even
thinking of it is enough to start me thinking of the arguments.”

Isabel and Virgie departed, while Diane took exception to Cathalina’s
statement that they had two weeks still as seniors. “This is Saturday,
Cathalina, and you know that the exercises of Commencement week are cut
short this year. I don’t imagine that we shall have half the company we
usually do, either. The Inter-Society Debate will be on Friday night;
the play a week from today; Sunday, the baccalaureate sermon in the
Chapel; Monday, our honors presented, and class day exercises in the
afternoon, Glee Club concert in the evening; Tuesday, diplomas.”

“When are we going to have our society reception and our senior society
diplomas?” asked Betty.

“When _are_ we? I had forgotten that. Hilary, you are president, what
about it?”

“I was counting on the usual time, but why didn’t I think of it? Well,
it can be posted. Why wouldn’t it do to go right from the class day
exercises to the society hall. It will be appropriate then. We have
asked Patty to make a little speech and present the diplomas; then we’ll
serve lemonade and cake and ice cream. The juniors will see to it while
we are having our other exercises. They are rather short this year.”

“I think that will be a good idea, Hilary,” said Eloise. “The class day
exercises will probably take only an hour and a half. We could have the
society reception from four to six.”

“So we could. We’d better arrange it that way. I’ll call a meeting of
the executive committee Monday.”

On Monday, as it happened, another and more important matter came up. As
Cathalina sat calmly eating her cereal breakfast, a note was passed to
her. “Mercy me!” she exclaimed as she read. “Listen to this, girls.”

Betty, Hilary and Lilian, who sat nearest, looked up with interest.

“‘Dear Cathalina: Edith Lane has measles! You will have to be Helena.
Please let me see you right after breakfast.—P. Norris.’ Now isn’t that
like Patty? Takes it for granted that I will do it because it is to be
done. Lilian, you are as tall as I am, you do it.”

“No, I’m not quite as tall, but I don’t think it makes so much
difference for that reason as that I already have a part and have
learned my lines.”

“So have I.” Cathalina’s lips were curling in amusement, however, as she
reflected on her prominent part as first fairy. “How can she expect me
to learn a part in a week?”

“We haven’t any lessons,—that is one thing,” suggested Hilary. “You can
do it, Cathalina. You have heard the play several times.”

“Yes, I am familiar with the play,” said Cathalina, “but Helena has a
good deal to say, if I remember. I know four lines of hers:

  “‘Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
  Love can transpose to form and dignity.
  Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind,
  And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.’”

“Think what a start you have,” said Betty, her dimples beginning to
play.

“I’ll think about it,” said Cathalina, “but it shan’t spoil my
breakfast. Please pass me the cream, Betty. Mine has all disappeared
somewhere, and I like to see a little on my oatmeal.”

After breakfast Cathalina, who had hoped to escape a prominent part,
since she was not in the Dramatic Club, hunted up Mrs. Norris and
finally consented to do her best with the part of Helena.

“There are some other girls, Cathalina, who are anxious to have such a
part, but I do not feel that any one of them will do as well as you
will. You have seen the play several times in New York and know how the
different characters are represented and I don’t want this part
overdone. Edith looked the part very well, but she says the lines in an
absolutely uninteresting way, and I don’t know but it is just as well
that she has the measles, poor child. By the way, all of you must keep
away from the hospital. We can’t have an epidemic of measles starting
here just before time to start home.”

“That would be a calamity,” assented the smiling Cathalina. “All right,
Mrs. Norris, I’ll try it. Shall I come to the practices and read the
lines I do not know?”

“Yes. Would you like to go over the lines, as you learn them, with me?”

“I imagine that I’d better. I will get the other girls to hear me, too.”

“It is work for Cathalina this week,” said that young lady, as she
entered the suite after the conference with Patricia Norris.

“Good girl,” said Hilary, with approbation. “Cathalina has the right
kind of class spirit. She is right there when there is anything to be
done.”

“I do hate to do this, though, Hilary.”

“All the more credit to you, then, for doing it. Here are your first
lines,” and Hilary, who had begun to study over again her own part,
turned the pages to Helena’s first speech. “Here you are, addressing
Evelyn as Hermia:

  “Call you me fair? That fair again unsay.
  Demetrius loves your fair, O, happy fair!”

“I _do_ like her _lines_, the words are so musical,—‘your tongue’s sweet
air more tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear’.”

“Oh, you will like it when you get at it. You ought to have heard
Dorothy Appleton rave about being Bottom, but she thinks it great fun
now. Did you see her at the last practice? She said she was not sure
which string she was pulling in the donkey’s head. She might make his
ears wiggle when his eyes ought to blink, but we told her that we didn’t
think it mattered.”

Greycliff days were taking wing. The week fairly flew till its important
close. On Friday night, the Whittiers and Emersons gathered in the
chapel for the Inter-Society Debate. Isabel, with pink cheeks and cold
hands, had bid her friends goodbye with the remark that she was marching
to her doom, but Virginia was “as calm as an oyster,” to quote Isabel.

“Do you think that Isabel was nervous enough to hurt?” asked Cathalina,
who was a little worried. “You know how sure she was over the canoe
race.”

“That was different,” replied Juliet, who sat next to Cathalina. “She
has to remember a speech this time, and while Isabel is such a fine
debater, I think she dreads this occasion. It is more important to the
girls.”

But if Isabel was nervous beforehand, when she appeared on the stage
platform she was perfectly at ease and never had debated with more
brilliance. Virginia, too, never appeared to better advantage, and
Lilian thought as she looked at the fine-looking girl on the platform,
so earnest, so well prepared, of what Greycliff had meant to Virgie
since that day when she had gone in to comfort the discouraged girl from
the Dakota ranch. It was scarcely possible to believe that Virginia was
the same girl, nor was she quite. A bigger outlook, a more unselfish
ambition and a sweeter poise was hers.

The judges were not out long, and the decision was unanimous for the
Whittier team. The annual banner, which for another year would grace the
Whittier hall, was presented by one of the trustees, and accepted by
Isabel, representing the team.

What sort of a day would Saturday be? This was the most important
consideration to which the seniors wakened that morning. Everything was
ready for the presentation of the play outdoors, and the girls had gone
to sleep on Friday night saying over their lines. There had been a
thunderstorm on Friday afternoon, but it had cleared for the evening,
and the stars came out. The evening paper had promised a good day, but
as Isabel said, you never can tell. The last practice had not gone off
very well. That was on Friday morning, in costume. But girls forgot
their speeches, girls who had never done that before, several came on at
the wrong moment, forgetting their cues, and Patty was nearly
distracted.

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Norris, remember that Miss Perin was not here to help
you manage behind the scenes. Nobody will go on at the wrong time
tonight.” Lilian was trying to comfort her teacher as they happened to
meet on the way to the scene of action.

“Oh, thank you, Lilian. I am not worried now. We have everything fixed
better now, all the stage property at hand and some one in charge. Miss
Perin will attend to sending the folks on, if they forget, and I have
the text, as prompter.”

“Behind the scenes,” in the lovely spot chosen, consisted of a thick
clump of evergreens behind which a green curtain had been stretched to
screen the players. Through arching branches was the stage entrance. The
background was the woods behind Greycliff Hall and its adjacent
buildings. An even stretch of ground on the level of Greycliff Hall made
a woodland spot easy of access, yet with the wildest of surroundings.
Part of the elevation, finally resulting in what was called “high hill,”
ascended gradually from level ground, and there it was that the girls
brought cushions and newspapers and sat, on the slope, to view the play.
There were a few chairs for the faculty, ladies, alumnae and guests. The
orchestra sat at one side of the “stage,” not to obstruct the view of
the players, and were next to the evergreens before mentioned. Aunt
Hilary had arrived and occupied a place of honor next to Miss Randolph.
Girls in costume were coming up the path from Greycliff Hall, the
orchestra were tuning instruments, and the whole place was taking on a
festival appearance. Prettiest of all were the fairies, and most
ridiculous were the costumes of those taking the parts of Bottom and the
rest of the Pyramus and Thisbe players.

“I’ll not forget, Mrs. Norris,” declared Cathalina, “but I shall draw a
long breath when my part is over. However, I have had lots of fun this
week. I hate to think that all this is so nearly over.”

“‘Lots’?”

“A great deal,” corrected Cathalina. “But sometimes I rather like our
more blunt way of speaking.”

“If my girls will remember their parts tonight and not rant, I shall be
happy.”

But often the simple acting of amateurs is more attractive than that of
any but the best professionals. The cast of Greycliff’s Midsummer
Night’s Dream could have no fault to find with the appreciation of their
audience. That delightful atmosphere established itself which means
players who are enjoying their work and an audience entirely held and
entertained. Long would they remember the pretty scene.

“How did you like it, Aunt Hilary?” asked an excited Hilary, as she took
her aunt’s arm and led her back to the Hall. The rest of the suite-mates
followed, all interested in the one relative which their company
boasted.

“I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, Hilary, and I think that all the
girls did so well. Of course I was more interested in you, and in the
girls that I know and have heard so much about during these years.”

“You must come to our suite now. We are going to make some lemonade to
refresh you. The play did not take as long as I feared.”

“They cut some of the speeches, you know,” said Cathalina. “I was surely
glad to have mine cut, and Patty was kind.”

“Cathalina had to learn her part in one week, Aunt Hilary. One of the
girls who was to have the part came down with measles. Imagine it,—in
your senior year and just at Commencement! So Cathalina was asked to do
it.”

“I thought that I should hate it, but I rather enjoyed it, after all.”

“What was that perfectly heartless remark of Patty’s, Cathalina?”

“Oh, she did not mean it, but Edith had not been doing very well with
her part. No wonder, if she was coming down with measles. I remember
when I had them.”

“Have another lady-finger, Aunt Hilary. The Glee Club concert is our
last performance at Greycliff. One by one our duties lessen. Did you
like the music tonight?”

“It was beautiful. I had no idea that you would have so excellent an
orchestra.”

“It was short two good players in Lilian and Eloise tonight, but it is
really very well trained.”

“I am very fond of that music anyway, and out under the trees and stars
it sounded particularly sweet. Goodnight, girls, I am glad that I am to
have some more of Greycliff’s entertainment.”



CHAPTER XIV: GREYCLIFF GIRLS TAKE FLIGHT


The next day was a blessed one of rest, for it was not hard to go to the
chapel and listen to the sermon for them and for the seniors of the
academy. Aunt Hilary and the other guests watched with great interest
the procession of girls in their white dresses, as they took their
places in the front rows. The choir of girls sang their favorite anthems
and led in the good old hymns which were so often called for at
Greycliff.

“Four years at Greycliff,” thought Cathalina, and wondered what the next
one would bring, for she was facing possible changes. Her thoughts ran
to her brother and cousins and one fine soldier in France, from whom she
had not heard for a long time.

“Four years at Greycliff,” thought Hilary. “How kind of Aunt Hilary to
make it possible. Now two years of college, somewhere, perhaps at one of
our church schools, perhaps at home, if Mother does not want me to go
away. If—” Hilary’s thoughts, too, ran on, to a certain soldier boy who
might want her some day to make a home with him, if he came back,—and
perhaps it would be as well to stay with Mother and Father.

Many, many thoughts came to these girls, so fair and so young, looking
forward to the fulfillment of dreams even in that sad year.

When they came down to earth after the service, Greycliff outdid herself
in serving a chicken dinner beyond the memory of the oldest inhabitant.
Aunt Hilary sat with the dignitaries at Miss Randolph’s table and at
Hilary’s table, joy was unconfined, for Isabel had given up her seat to
a visitor and occupied a chair next to Lilian. Lilian, too, had thrown
off care for the day, sparkling as Lilian could when her mood was gay.
Her shining hair was piled high, one little bit of short down curling in
her neck. On her arms was the bracelet Philip had given her, and on her
neck his latest gift, a delicate chain with a jeweled lavaliere, of a
pattern then most popular. The engagement ring was on her finger, and
all together, according to Isabel, Lil presented a picture of a “fine
lady with jewels.”

“Do you think I have too much on, Isabel?” asked Lilian, rather taken
back by Isabel’s careless remark. “I love to wear them,—you know why.”

“And we love to see them,” returned Isabel. “I beg your pardon; I wasn’t
criticising.”

“Let’s arrange about the round robin,” said Betty. “I can’t stand it not
to know about all you girls, and never can write regularly to so many.
It will be much easier to pass on the letters. Then if we want to write
any oftener to any one we can. Meanwhile the history of the chief events
can be going the rounds.”

“I’m afraid we’ll give it up,” said Juliet.

“I know some girls who have kept one going for nearly ten years.”

“How many of them are there?”

“Ten.”

“Somebody will be sure to be careless and keep it too long or
something.”

“We might make it a rule not to keep it more than a month, and if one
had time for only a few lines that would be acceptable. It could get
around at least once a year.”

“I think it will be fine,” said Eloise. “Count me in. Betty, you write
to me and I’ll send it out with a letter of my own to Pauline, next up
to Virgie, then east to New York, no, to Isabel first. The New York
folks could gather up their epistles, or write one all together. Suppose
all of us who want to have a round robin, or to take part in one, leave
our names with Betty and let her start it. Who has more adventures than
Betty?”

“If it depends upon my telling adventures, there will not be any round
robin, for I’m not going to have any more. But I will receive names for
the round robin after dinner in Lakeview Suite.”

“I can’t believe that we’re not coming back next year,” said Hilary. “It
does not seem possible. Here we are, all around the table, and in a few
days it will be like a dream.”

“I _think_ I’m coming back,” said Isabel, “but sometimes I don’t care
much if I don’t come. It is going to make so much difference to have you
all gone. And yet I’d like to finish up here. Virgie thinks that she
will teach next year, though it isn’t quite decided, you know, depends
on what school she can get, and she has not heard.”

“We shall need that round robin to find out where we all are,” said
Betty. “Leave an address by which we can reach you when you give me your
names.”

“Strawberries, with ice cream and cake,” announced Isabel, watching the
waitress as she brought in the dessert to the next table. “I wonder if
they are home grown.”

“Oh, no; they couldn’t be,” said Hilary. “These are from further south.
Don’t you remember that the Canada berries were ripe and beautiful about
the first of July that year we went to camp. I’ll never forget my sister
June’s delight. Dear me, how we go from the sublime to the ridiculous.”

“We couldn’t live on the heights all the time,” said Isabel, “and there
are things we don’t dare think about at all now. Think of Betty’s last
adventure. Why, the wildest imagination could not have fancied anything
like that or thousands of other things that are happening here and in
Europe. All the old stories of Robin Hood, and ladies held up in
carriages on lonely roads, that we have read and thought so romantic,
can’t hold a candle to what happens now. We hear a humming and look
up,—there goes a knight of romance in an aeroplane.”

“The great trouble is that these things are not really very pleasant to
live through,” said Betty. “I’d rather read about them.”

“Yes. When you know a knight, it isn’t so pleasant to have him ‘go off
to the wars’, is it?”

“No, Cathalina,” replied Betty.

The next morning had one exciting hour, that during which the prizes and
honors were awarded, after the morning chapel service. At Greycliff the
honors for scholarship were considered the most important and were given
first, to relieve the tension. Aunt Hilary sat on the platform with the
faculty, in a row reserved for visitors, and received the reward of her
interest in her niece when she heard Miss Randolph say, “I have the
pleasure of awarding the prize, one hundred dollars, for the highest
scholarship in the Collegiate classes, to Hilary Lancaster.”

Hilary had held her place in general scholarship throughout the years of
her stay at Greycliff. It had meant steady effort, not neglecting her
lessons under any circumstances, and a careful planning of her work in
order to take her part in other activities. No one but a girl of bright,
quick mind and comparative health could have made the record that
Hilary’s report showed, but added to that there was necessary that
determined progress of which she was capable and which carried her on to
a mastery of the subjects that she had taken. It was really a very tired
girl that went forward to take the little purse which Miss Randolph held
in her hand. She acknowledged the gift and the applause with a little
bow, and gave Aunt Hilary a bright look as she caught her eye for a
moment. It was worth the effort of the four years to see the sweet
approval and satisfaction in Aunt Hilary’s smile.

Lilian and Cathalina took the poetry prizes, Lilian, also, winning a
prize in musical composition. Eloise shone both in music and some of the
lines in scholarship, and won one of the prizes for short stories.
Isabel and Virginia again won honors in debate. Betty and Cathalina both
took prizes in the art lines and in English. All the Psyche Club won
their “All-around G’s,” and when the silver trophy cup was brought out,
to be presented to the “all-around senior girl,” it was Hilary to whom
it was awarded. This award considered both scholarship and the athletic
record.

“What next, Hilary?” asked her aunt as she joined Hilary back of the
entrance to the platform.

“We might stroll around the grounds a while till lunch, Auntie, or how
would you like a canoe ride?”

“No canoe ride, please, for me. I think that I’m quite modern till I see
all the things that you girls do. I can ride and row and drive a car,
but I dare not try a canoe!”

Aunt Hilary was a good deal like an older edition of Hilary Lancaster.
Her hair was quite grey, but her face was young, with a fresh color and
animated expression. “Suppose we just go down to the beach a while and
watch the waves and birds,” said she.

“All right. By the way, we can point out the ‘pirates cave,’ too. We had
forgotten that. Lil, get your guitar. You need practice anyhow, for this
afternoon. The mandolin, uke and guitar club will furnish music for the
class day exercises, Auntie.”

Hilary and her aunt strolled down to the beach, while Lilian went for
her guitar and attached Cathalina, Betty and some of the other girls
along the way.

“Whither with sweet music, Lilian?”

“Down to the beach to help entertain Aunt Hilary. Come along.”

“If you are going to the beach I think I’ll not go,” said Betty, who had
not cared for the lake and its environs this spring.

“We might see Donald,” suggested Cathalina by way of replacing unhappy
memories with happy ones.

Betty smiled, hesitated, and finally started with the girls. “I ought to
carry away a better impression of this lake that I have really loved
most of the time. Perhaps, if we have a good time there, I can remember
it and the time when Donald so suddenly appeared.”

“That’s a brave Betty. Hurrah for Greycliff’s grey cliffs!”

Taller, older, more serious seemed these Greycliff girls who were to
receive diplomas so soon and leave the scenes of so many girlish
exploits. They joined Hilary and her aunt, who were sitting out on the
rocks, discoursing of many things. Dorothy Appleton, Diane Percy and
Evelyn Calvert were coming down from the wood, and Eloise, Pauline and
Helen came from the boat house to add to the company as Hilary beckoned.
“Come on and sing Greycliff songs for Aunt Hilary,” said she.

Lilian’s guitar started them. Aunt Hilary turned back a page or two in
memory of her own schooldays, as the girls ran through their songs,
athletic songs, class songs, the whole accumulation of the best efforts.

“This is a good one for today,” said Eloise, and hummed a strain to
Lilian.

“Oh, yes,” said Lilian, playing a few chords in a different key.

“All ready, one, two, sing!” This song had a lively accompaniment of
chords that came in with most surprising irregularity. Aunt Hilary asked
afterward if it were rag-time, and was told that it was.

  There are white caps on the water,
    And the sky’s as blue
    As blue can be;
  On the sand the wavelets ripple,
    As we raise our song,
    Greycliff, to thee.
      Alma Mater,
      Alma Mater,
    Just a song of love
    And praise to thee.

Not all the stanzas were as serious as this, one beginning There’s an
Island; another, There’s a Cave; still another, There’s a Boat, and all
recounted Greycliff doings in ballad form,—the rag-time ballad. At the
close, the first stanza was repeated and the guitar finished up in great
style.

“Oh, Lilian,” mourned Isabel, who had been a member of this chorus since
some one had informed her where “all the girls” were. “_Aren’t I_ going
to hear any more the plunk of your glad guitar?”

“I hope that you are, Isabel, many times. But if you come to New York,
as you must, I hope that Phil will be there to play much better than I
can.”

Betty and Cathalina stood for a moment after the others had gone and
looked out over the dancing sparkles which the sunlight made upon the
water. Then Betty turned away. “I’ll carry away all the memories,
Cathalina,—picnics, boat rides, the wreck and the hydroplane. Do you not
think that I have had a varied career for one so young?”

Cathalina laughed at Betty’s affected tone. “Yes, I should say that if
variety is the spice of life, you have been having it. Let’s hurry a
little. I thought I heard the gong for lunch. I’m glad it is cool today.
Everything looks so fresh and pretty. I think that there was a little
shower early this morning.”

“Haven’t you the class history this afternoon, Cathalina?”

“Yes, haven’t you seen me racking my brains over it?”

“No; I remember your saying something about it, but I wondered what had
become of it.”

“I wanted it to be new to the girls, so haven’t asked them many
questions, except the girls that have been here since the freshman
academy days.”

“Jane Mills has the class prophecy, hasn’t she?”

“I think so. There were some changes and I was not at the last class
meeting.”

The last class exercises, for the senior collegiates of that year, were
held on the front campus, and the other classes, as well as the guests,
were invited. Girls sat or stood in groups to hear the program. The
front steps of Greycliff Hall served as platform, and the members of the
mandolin, uke’ and guitar club sat on the upper steps and the porch. The
spray from the fountain blew in a fine mist under the shadows of the
great trees and across the sunny stretches between them.

“It is hard,” said the class prophet, “to forecast the future for our
Lilian. I seem to see her standing before a large audience, holding them
spellbound by the cadences of her beautiful voice.” At this point, Jane
turned to look at Lilian behind her, and Lilian was busy with her
guitar. “Then, upon the shelves of a public library I see a handsomely
bound volume of poems, with the name of Lilian North inscribed.—Ah, what
is this picture that comes so rapidly upon the screen? A stately home
upon the Hudson. But the film is torn here and the figures are
indistinct.

“The screen shows Hilary Lancaster doing deeds of mercy. First, I see a
schoolroom and Hilary surrounded by a group of scholars. Now I see her
in the slums, holding a wee baby and bending over a sick mother. She
wears no deaconess bonnet and I can not tell whether she is a home
missionary, a minister’s wife, or merely a ‘friend to man,’ as here in
school.”

Betty was seen as a bride, going away with a handsome naval officer.

Cathalina carried a degree from Columbia and was dean of a woman’s
college. Pauline galloped about a large ranch, and was finally seen to
ride off into the distance with a picturesque cowboy. Jane’s imagination
was equal to the emergency of providing a future of thrilling interest
for everybody, and the audience enjoyed her fancies. The orchestra burst
forth into a mad medley of popular music at the close of the prophecy,
while the rest scattered, after being reminded of the reception and
ceremony of bestowing the society diplomas upon the seniors in the
society halls.

“Things move rapidly this afternoon,” said Aunt Hilary.

“Yes, Auntie,” replied Hilary, “but there isn’t much to do at ‘society.’
We have about half an hour before that begins and I think that I’d
better go and see if they need me to help get ready. Will you come? The
girls will probably begin to come in pretty soon.”

“Indeed I will. I get as much entertainment from watching the girls as
from any of the exercises.”

When they entered the Whittier Hall, Isabel was placing a little bundle
of neat, white diplomas, tied with the society colors, on the corner of
the piano, their new baby grand. Virgie was placing a step-ladder near
one of the windows, preparatory to fixing up some of the decorations
which had fallen down.

“Come and taste this,” Virgie called one of the juniors who was adding a
little fruit juice to what looked like a very cooling drink in a large
glass bowl.

“I’ll put this up,” Hilary offered. “You’ll have to add more ice later,
so have it strong enough.”

“Look out for the ladder,” Virgie cautioned, “it’s a bit rickety.”

“All right.”

But it was not all right, unfortunately, and as Hilary mounted the
ladder it tipped. Down came Hilary, not very far, to be sure, but
without a chance to save herself.

“Dear child!” exclaimed Aunt Hilary. “Are you badly hurt?”

Two or three of the girls rushed to help Hilary up, but she waved them
away, and sat up slowly with a white face. “I’ve turned my ankle and
fallen on it. Just a minute, girls.”

“We shall have to attend to it, dear,” said Mrs. Garland, and as Hilary
protected the hurt foot, with one of the girls to help, she lifted
Hilary to a chair which one of the other girls drew up, ready.

“Don’t mind, Aunt Hilary, if I groan a bit,—it hurts so!” Poor Hilary
put her face in her hands a moment.

“Wait a minute,” said Cathalina. “I’ll bring a rocking chair from the
nearest room and we can draw her to the suite,—lucky that it is on this
floor.”

In a few minutes Hilary was being drawn in a rocking chair to the suite
and could not help laughing at Isabel who dashed by carrying a large
enameled pail which the girls had often used on picnic. By the time
Hilary’s pretty Commencement slipper was off, Isabel was back with hot
water. “I’m not sure that this is the latest thing they do for sprains,
but Aunt Helen always puts the boys’ sprains in as hot water as they can
stand.”

“Does she detach them from the boys?” inquired Hilary, wincing a little
as she tried the temperature of the water.

“Here’s cold water, too; Virgie, hurry up with that pitcher, please.
Detach what, Hilary?”

“The sprains. You said she always put them in water. Ah—that feels
good!”

“What’s the matter? Mercy! Is Hilary _hurt_?” Lilian from the doorway
viewed the scene with troubled face. In her hand she carried what
everybody recognized as a telegram.

“Oh, I just thought I would get up a little excitement, Lilian. Things
were going too smoothly—Oh, is that our telegram from New York?”

“Yes, Oh _poor_ Hilary!”

That was, indeed the last straw, and Hilary, in pain, knowing that the
boys were on their way from the southern camp to New York and that she
had a serious hurt, burst into tears. Hilary, the strong, the patient,
the self-controlled, in tears! The girls all looked distressed, but Aunt
Hilary now came to the fore.

“Come, Hilary, perhaps it isn’t so bad as you think,” said she. “Isabel,
will you go down and ask Miss Randolph to send up the nurse and
telephone for a physician? Now it is time for your little program,
Hilary; which of the girls shall preside in your place?”

“Juliet is vice-president, but one of the juniors will take the chair
while we—the other girls, are receiving their diplomas. Be sure that
Patty is there, Cathalina. She makes the speech, you know. And see that
all the seniors are there, too, before the meeting is called to order.
Tell the girls about me, please, and one of you can bring my diploma.”

“I do hate to go, Hilary,” said Lilian, “and leave you like this.”

“You couldn’t do a thing. The nurse will be here in a minute and Aunt
Hilary will take care of me. Oh, I’m so glad you are here, Aunt Hilary,
but it just _spoils_ your visit!”

“I am very glad to be on hand, and I already have had a wonderful visit,
renewing my youth.”

“Oh, Lilian,—please let me see the telegram.”

“I’ll leave it with you, dear girl, and I’ll get back the first minute I
can.” Lilian came over close to Hilary and put her arm around her neck.
“Are you just a little easier?”

“Yes, Lilian, ever so much,—I’m sorry I was such a baby.”

Isabel came back, a little in advance of Miss Randolph and the one of
the nurses who was not taking care of the measles patient.

“Thank you, Isabel,” said Hilary’s aunt. “Now you join the girls. Hilary
will feel better to know that everything is going as usual, and it will
be better for her to be alone with the nurse and the doctor, as soon as
he comes.”

“Well, Hilary, child, what sort of a performance is this?” asked Miss
Randolph with kindness, as she came into the suite and the nurse
followed. “Mrs. Garland, this is Miss Knight, one of our nurses.”

Miss Knight had a little dose for Hilary to take, and then proceeded to
examine the foot, very carefully. She was a good nurse, but very
matter-of-fact, and said in reply to Hilary’s question, “No I don’t
_think_ there is anything broken.”

Hilary’s heart descended to its lowest location. “Possibly something
broken. Now there was not the least hope of getting to New York in time
to see Campbell before he sailed! Why did this have to happen just at
this time?”

But Hilary had little opportunity to mourn at present. The janitor
brought in a wheeled chair in which Hilary was conveyed to the elevator
and thence to the hospital room. It was only a short time until the
doctor came, a genial soul who was as gentle as a thorough examination
would permit. “Nothing broken, Miss Lancaster, and I have seen worse
sprains. I am afraid I can’t promise your being able to walk up for your
diploma tomorrow, but you will feel a good deal better than you do now.”

“Oh, could I travel to New York in a day or two?”

“Is that necessary?” asked the doctor, hesitating.

“I want to very much.”

“Well, I’ll tell you, Miss Lancaster, I will give directions for good
care of that ankle and I can tell better tomorrow, when the swelling
goes down, what the prospect is.”

“He wasn’t very encouraging, was he, Aunt Hilary?” Hilary was lying in
bed now, her bandaged foot and ankle on a soft pillow. “I suppose I am
crazy to even _think_ of getting to New York, but it does seem—as if—I
can’t give up seeing Campbell before—” Hilary was crying again. “Please
forgive me for—crying!”

“Poor little girl!” Aunt Hilary was smoothing the hot forehead. “Cry all
you want to; perhaps it will do you good. You are all tired out, and I
can understand what the disappointment means to you.”

“You will go to the concert tonight, won’t you?” Hilary could always
think of some one besides herself.

“Yes if you want me to and if you are fit to be left.”

“Oh, I will be. I guess I am pretty tired and nervous this spring. After
you have put it all through, you know——”

“Indeed I do know. Now let me tell you what I am thinking about. The
telegram said that the boys were on their way from the south, didn’t
it?”

“Yes.”

“That means a day or two yet before they even arrive, and they have to
get their overseas outfit. It is rarely that they are rushed right to
sea. Suppose you let the girls go, as they intend, tomorrow night, and
then you and I will leave as soon as the doctor says it is safe.”

“Oh, Aunt Hilary,—‘you and I’—would you go _with_ me?”

“Do you suppose I’m going to fail the dearest niece I have at such a
time as this, if there are trains and comfortable drawing room to get
you to your sweetheart? Besides, I want a look at the boy.”

Aunt Hilary laughed at the blissful expression that dawned upon Hilary’s
face. “Do you like the idea? How very fortunate that I came.”

“Do I _like_ it! ‘Fortunate!’ Aunt Hilary have you ever been lifted from
the depths of despair to the heights of—” Hilary was hesitating for a
word.

“Happiness?” suggested her aunt. “If you want to follow the
alliteration.”

“Oh, I don’t mind this, if I can only go.”

“Go you shall,” asserted her aunt. “Now, child, I want you to be
perfectly quiet and if you can, take a good nap. You are worn out.”

“I believe I can take a little nap before dinner. When the gong rings
you will go, won’t you?”

“Oh, yes, and I shall be all the more likely to do so if you go to
sleep.”

“All right, Aunt Hilary. Isn’t it funny how quickly things can change? I
know better how Betty felt now. But she fell from a horse and did not
sprain a limb, while I only fell a little way.”

“Sh-sh, Hilary. I used to put you to sleep when you were a little girl;
can’t I be successful now?”

Hilary laughed and obediently closed her eyes.

The other girls, meanwhile, had received from the hands of their
favorite teacher their society certificates and were busy talking to a
few visiting alumnae, friends, and each other, while serving and being
served with the light refreshments offered.

“Isn’t it the most unfortunate thing that Hilary had to have an accident
right now!” Cathalina was filling a plate with macaroons to pass around
a second time, while Lilian was putting more ice in the bowl and filling
it up with the mixed fruit juices again.

“Just dreadful!” exclaimed Lilian. “What are we to do about it?”

“I have a plan, if there aren’t any bones broken. We’ll talk about it as
soon as this is over. I wonder if Hilary could drink some of this?”

“We’ll take her over some. Of course, she is at the pest house now. I
believe everybody’s been served and the cakes have been around twice,
except these.”

“It is only five o’clock, an hour before dinner.”

Laden with good things, the two girls and Betty started over to the
hospital building. “My plan is this,” said Cathalina, “that I take a
stateroom, if we can get a reservation, and just put Hilary to bed and
take her along. We girls can take care of her, don’t you think so?”

“Indeed we can. The nurse will show us how to bandage her foot. Or
perhaps her aunt will go along. I’ll ask her to come to our house.”

“Oh, no, Lilian. They’d better come to our house because we have so much
extra room. I’ll tuck Hilary away in her own rose room.”

“Do you suppose Hilary could manage on crutches?”

“We’ll have to see about that.”

Aunt Hilary was on guard, sitting outside the building on a rustic bench
under a tree. As the girls hurried up with their hands full, she smiled
and said, “Hilary had orders to go to sleep, but I will tiptoe in and
see.” Carefully she peeped inside the door, to discover Hilary with wide
open eyes, and surprise a long sigh from the injured senior.

“You bad child, you did not go to sleep at all.”

“I couldn’t, Aunt Hilary. I’m sorry.”

“Come in, girls,” called Aunt Hilary.

“Oh, the girls! Good!”

“You poor dear, how are you by this time? What did the doctor say about
your foot?”

“There isn’t a thing broken, Lilian, but of course it hurts. It’s all
bandaged up as tight as anything and he is going to see what the
prospect is in the morning.”

“Cathalina has thought up a wonderful plan and we are going to take you
with us if your aunt will let us, and we were hoping that she would go
too.”

“Yes,” eagerly assented Cathalina. “We girls can take care of you just
as easy as pie, put you in a stateroom,—I will arrange for one tomorrow,
and Mrs. Garland, if you can _possibly_ come, please come and add to our
happiness and Hilary’s comfort by being our guest. I know that you will
like my mother.”

“Aren’t you the dearest girls in Greycliff or anywhere else!” exclaimed
Hilary. “Everybody is planning for poor me. I feel ashamed of my broken
heart, but honestly I thought, it was cracked in two at first. And Aunt
Hilary, too, had the plan to take me East.”

“Have you, Mrs. Garland?—Look, Hilary, here come more girls with more
ice cream!”

Hilary, her aunt and the nurse were soon supplied with cooling and
delicious refreshments, for Eloise, Helen, and Pauline had been seized
with the same thought, and unaware of Lilian’s mission, had also brought
the entire menu.

“This will spoil our dinner,” said Aunt Hilary.

“Let it,” said Hilary. “I’d rather have this.”

“It will probably be better for you than a heavy meal,” said the nurse.
“I wasn’t planning to bring you much tonight.”

Hilary patiently bore her disappointment in not singing with the glee
club that night. The thought that she might not have to miss the trip to
New York made her able to bear lesser ills. The girls took Aunt Hilary
to dinner and to the concert, brought her back to say goodnight to
Hilary, and took her to her room at the Hall, when Hilary and the nurse
both insisted that it would be absurd for her to stay with Hilary. The
nurse had had special directions from the doctor and bathed, rubbed and
bandaged the ankle several times during the night, that first night so
hard to bear unless something is done for relief. So the time passed
till morning.

When the doctor came in the morning, he was surprised to find the sprain
in such good condition. “How would you like to be wheeled on the
platform, with the rest of the girls, when they get their diplomas?”

Hilary was feeling so frisky and free from discomfort that she wanted to
ask him if the rest were to be wheeled on too,—but did not.

“Do you mean it, doctor?”

“Indeed I do. I don’t want you to walk on it today, but you can go to
everything if some one takes you. Come back for the treatment regularly
and don’t have any more accidents. I would not try to leave tonight, as
I believe you had planned. But by tomorrow night, I think you will feel
quite comfortable. Stay in the hospital tonight and have the same
treatment you had last night.”

Aunt Hilary walked out with the doctor, to make sure that Hilary was
really in good condition, and came back rejoicing. “We shall really go
tomorrow night, then, but I shall be on hand all day to see that nothing
more happens to that foot.”

So it happened that Aunt Hilary did see her niece receive her diploma.
Hilary, dressed in the pretty white graduate frock, a white shawl thrown
over the bandaged foot, was carefully wheeled from the back entrance of
the platform to a place in the line of girls who had been called forward
and had mounted the platform to receive their diplomas. Her name had
just been called, and Miss Randolph, departing from custom, stepped back
to hand the diploma to Hilary. Returning to the front of the platform
again, she said, “It would have been disappointment, indeed, if Miss
Lancaster, who is the student receiving highest honors in scholarship,
had not been able to receive her diploma in person.”

Finding that Hilary would be able to leave Wednesday, the other girls
also decided to stay, help her pack and be on hand to “do her bidding,”
as Lilian put it, while they made the journey. They were able to change
their reservations, the railway authorities glad to get back the berths,
and able to make better arrangements for them, it happened, for
Wednesday night. Aunt Hilary, not Cathalina, engaged the stateroom, but
promised to stay at Cathalina’s instead of at a hotel. “It would be
terrible not to be all together!” Cathalina had exclaimed.

The packing was a great undertaking. The girls were all thankful for
that extra day at Greycliff. The three at Lakeview Suite, though worn
out with much Commencement, finished their packing early Wednesday
morning while Hilary was still at the hospital, and with Aunt Hilary
packed Hilary’s things later. Most of the girls had left Tuesday night,
but there were still some trying goodbyes to be said. Fortunately, some
of the girls could still look forward to schooldays together.

Miss Randolph paid a special visit to Lakeview Suite and earnestly
expressed her pleasure at having had such loyal, fine girls at
Greycliff. The girls tried to tell her how much they had appreciated
what she had taught them, in so many inspiring ways, but felt that they
had not been equal to the occasion. “But she knows, girls,” said Hilary
consolingly, as she watched Aunt Hilary and Miss Randolph stroll off
down the hall together.

At last they were on the train, Hilary so comfortable that she declared
she could not have planned it better to travel in luxury, with some one
to anticipate her every need. Her companions knew, however, that if
Hilary could have her way she would exchange all that for a well foot.
But it made a happy little company, after all. There was time for much
conversation, some confidences, and many plans for the coming days. They
missed Betty after she changed cars to go in another direction, but
there were promises of full accounts in letters. And now the Hudson, the
approach, the city.



CHAPTER XV: WHEN LADS BECAME MEN


It was a new East to Cathalina and the other girls. There had been many
a long stop on the way, for the troop trains had precedence. Everywhere
was the uniform, and in the Hudson were strangely camouflaged ships.
Cathalina and Lilian had telegraphed about their changed date of arrival
and were met by the fathers this time. No dashing Philip, blue-eyed
Campbell or brotherly Dick at the station. But the first question asked
by Cathalina and Lilian of their respective parents was “Have the boys
come yet?”

“We do not know,” answered Mr. Van Buskirk. “If so, they are detained at
camp. They promised to send us word at the first opportunity, but they
might not have that for a time.”

Hilary managed to hobble around pretty well and reached the Van Buskirk
car without much difficulty. Aunt Hilary and Cathalina followed Hilary
into the machine and they started off, after saying goodbye to Lilian
and her father.

“Not much need of goodbyes, is there, daughter?” inquired the Judge. “I
suppose you will be over there most of the time till the boys sail.”

“I may be at home a little, a very little, Daddy, so make the most of
me!”

“Very well, but even you will have to take second place when Dick
arrives. Your mother lives in anticipation.”

“Poor mother! Is Dick still in camp?”

“He was shifted to another camp, but telegraphed, a night letter, saying
that the indications were for a start in a day or two and that he would
let us know. He will come to Camp Merritt also.”

Aunt Hilary received a warm welcome from Mrs. Van Buskirk, while Hilary
was petted and waited on until she said she would be spoiled and never
would want to wait on herself again. The big Van Buskirk house was cool
and comfortable, electric fans going, flowers about the rooms, cold
salads and ices served. It was perhaps as well that the soldier lads had
not arrived, for the girls were so tired that they did not need any
extra excitement. Mrs. Van Buskirk suggested that both Cathalina and
Hilary should spend most of the time in bed for the next day or two and
sent for some one to give special treatment to the rapidly improving
foot. None of the relatives were invited in, no reunions planned, until
Philip and Campbell should arrive. Lilian, however, called up
occasionally. She, too, had been put to bed to rest, but felt anxious to
know about Hilary’s progress.

“I feel it in my bones,” said she, talking over the telephone to
Cathalina, “that the boys are not far away. We got the telegram Tuesday,
you know, and your people had just heard, and then the boys had started.
I don’t see how it _could_ take more than three or four days. Do you
suppose they can be at camp?”

“They might be, but Mother is expecting Phil either tomorrow or Sunday.
She has given orders for all the good things that Philip likes to eat,
and such spreads as we’ll have for the next few days!”

“Here, too. Well, I suppose it takes a long time to move so many troops
and we must be patient.”

“Yes, but you come over tomorrow and stay all day and the next. If you
are here we shall have Phil in the house just that much more! Mother
told me to ask you to come.”

“All right, Cathalina, I’ll be over in the morning.”

“Better bring all the clothes you want, for Phil will not want you out
of his sight.”

“Oh, he could drive me home.”

“Yes, and then _we_ wouldn’t have him.”

“I see. By the way, little sister, have you any overseas news since you
came home?”

“Not a word. And Captain Van Horne’s unit is right in the thickest of
the battles.”

Lilian joined the Van Buskirk “unit” the next day, spending much of the
time up in the rose room where Hilary sat with her foot up, doing her
best to take care now in order to be around with the rest soon. Mrs. Van
Buskirk and Aunt Hilary came and went, all the ladies knitting
vigorously.

“I must try to match this yarn,” Hilary was saying. “Isn’t it funny that
there are different shades of khaki. I thought I had enough to finish
the sweater, but haven’t. I do hope that I can match it exactly.”

“Listen!” said Cathalina.

Lilian jumped to her feet. Cathalina reached for her and drew her out
into the hall. Hilary looked at Aunt Hilary and dropped her work,
wondering if Campbell could possibly come with Philip, whose voice they
now heard downstairs. Yes, who was that asking, “Is it all right to go
up now, Aunt Sylvia?” The answer must have been affirmative, for rapid
steps were coming up the stairs, and Hilary limped out of the room so
quickly that she met him at the top.

There was no question of being engaged or not engaged. Campbell had just
heard of Hilary’s accident and gathered her up, fairly carrying her to
the end of the hall where there was a convenient window-seat.

“Hilary, Hilary, were you badly hurt?”

“No, Campbell,—but how tired you look!”

It took only a few happy minutes for all explanations and expressions
that were necessary for a complete understanding.

“I did not mean, Hilary, to tell you this until I came back,—but I
couldn’t help it.”

“I’d rather it were this way, Campbell. If you know that I care for you,
you will write more freely and it will seem so different.”

“What a heavenly difference!”

Mrs. Van Buskirk ascended the stairs and stood at the top without the
lovers’ being aware of her presence, and Mrs. Garland came from the rose
room to join her. “There is another pair downstairs,” remarked Mrs. Van
Buskirk with an expression of amusement. “But our lads will go more
happily for having their sweethearts waiting for them. I thought that
Campbell and Hilary were going to be so sensible and wait.” Mrs. Van
Buskirk raised her voice purposely as she said this, though she and Aunt
Hilary had their backs turned to the window-seat.

“What was that, Aunt Sylvia?” Campbell had risen, and now was walking
slowly toward them, helping Hilary.

“Come and meet Mrs. Garland, Campbell. Mrs. Garland, this is my nephew
and Hilary’s friend.” Trust Mrs. Van Buskirk not to take for granted any
new relation.

“It’s my Aunt Hilary, Campbell,” said Hilary as her aunt cordially
greeted the young man.

“I came up to tell you all that lunch will be ready before long. You
will stay, will you not, Campbell? Have you seen your mother yet?”

“No, I haven’t been out home. This was on the way, and I couldn’t resist
stopping to see if the girls had come.” Campbell looked down at Hilary
with content.

“Why not telephone her that you are in the city and will be right out
after lunch. Phil will drive you out. Perhaps Hilary will feel like
going too.”

“No, Mrs. Van Buskirk, I think not. His mother will want him all to
herself for a little while at least.”

“It is very thoughtful of you, Hilary, to appreciate that. You might
ride out, though, and come back with Phil and Lilian.”

“That is a great plan, Aunt Sylvia. You have a heart!” exclaimed
Campbell.

Mrs. Van Buskirk laughed. “I haven’t wholly forgotten my own youth,” she
replied, as she started down the stairs again, Aunt Hilary accompanying
her.

Campbell said something in a low tone to Hilary, who laughed. “Aunt
Hilary,” said she, “Campbell wants to know if he may carry me down.”

“It will be the very simplest way of getting her down,” assented that
lady. “She has been having her meals carried to her, but will want to be
with the family now.”

“If I want a permanent job as porter, then,” began Campbell, but Hilary
told him not to be silly, and he promptly obeyed, lifting Hilary and
carrying her down quickly, when the coast was clear of descending
ladies.

“She has begun to boss me already,” said Campbell as he helped Hilary
into the library where were Lilian and Philip.

“Oh, Campbell, as if I would do that!” began Hilary.

“What, what, what?” exclaimed Philip, jumping up to come and shake hands
with Hilary. “You don’t mean to say that everything is fixed up and——”

“It is,” said Campbell. “Congratulate me. Hilary says that she’ll have
me, though I’m terribly afraid that it is the uniform that she likes.”

“Irrepressible,” said Hilary to Lilian.

“Yes, but isn’t it wonderful to have them here for a little while?”

“It makes me feel a little better, Campbell,” said Philip, seriously.
“You were so noble and self-sacrificing that I felt horribly selfish to
have asked Lilian.”

The boys looked older and were thin after their strenuous months in a
southern camp. There was a firmness to young mouths in those days and a
lift to the chin, for boys had become men in the training and under the
new responsibility, as they met the evils wrought by the wrong ambitions
of wicked men.

“How did it happen to take you so long to come, Philip?” asked Mrs. Van
Buskirk at lunch.

“They brought us by such a round-about way, Mother. It was not by any
means a direct route.”

“How long can you stay this time?” asked Cathalina.

“We are off for over Sunday, but I don’t think that our bunch will go
over for a week or ten days. You must all come out to see the camp. Have
any of you been over?”

“Your father and I have been there several times in connection with the
work for the boys,” replied Mrs. Van Buskirk. “We shall go when you
can’t come to us, but this is better when you can.”

“I should say so!” assented Philip, accepting further attentions from
old Watts, who could not keep his usual impassive countenance under the
circumstances. Louis had come with Philip and had been warmly greeted by
both the family and the servants. He was in Philip’s company, but the
relation was not of master and man.

After lunch Philip drove Lilian, Campbell and Hilary to the Stuarts, but
Hilary did not return with Lilian and Philip, for Mrs. Stuart insisted
upon her staying and promised to take Campbell off by himself for a talk
if she would stay. And the family all made much of Hilary. It had been
well known among them how long Campbell had admired her.

“He has been so uneasy at times, Hilary,” said Mrs. Stuart, in a little
private conference, “and I had wondered how it was,—if you could not
care for my boy.”

“It was only too easy to do that, Mrs. Stuart, but I could scarcely
offer myself to him, could I?”

“No, I suppose not.”

“You see you can’t be perfectly sure that a boy cares for you very very
much until he tells you so. And I think that Campbell was surprised into
it as it was! Perhaps I should have said ‘No’!”

Hilary felt well acquainted with them all because of her previous visits
among the relatives, and Sara, who was a tall slip of a girl in her
teens now, quite openly adored her. Hilary told Sara and Emily all about
her sinking heart when she thought that she would not be able to come.

“Oh, suppose you hadn’t!” exclaimed Sara. “Then you and Campbell
wouldn’t be engaged, and you couldn’t have seen him before he left.”

“That was it, Sara. I really did not expect to be engaged to him, but I
thought I must see him, after having expected to all these months.”

“But now you belong to us,” declared Sara emphatically. “Aunt Hilary
must come to see us, too.”

“Yes,” said Emily. “I imagine that we’ll all go over there to see Phil
and call on Mrs. Garland after dinner. I told Phil that he need not come
for you, that we should want a visit with him, too, and would probably
be over. Aunt Sylvia will want a quiet day with him tomorrow, I think.”

It turned out so. Cathalina telephoned around to the different relatives
and to Judge and Mrs. North, asking them to call after dinner. Philip,
however, had driven Lilian home, after delivering Hilary at the Stuarts,
and was warmly welcomed by the Judge and his wife.

“Dick is at camp,” announced Philip, “and will get off in the morning.”

“I will go home with you tonight, Mother,” said Lilian, “and help you
get dinner for Dick tomorrow morning. I want you to have a chance to
visit with him while he can be here.”

“I shall have dinner nearly prepared tonight, Lilian, and there will be
little to do tomorrow, but you are a good child and I will let you
finish it up. Can’t you come over and help her, Philip?”

“If I only could! But Mother would be disappointed if I were not at
home. I’ll come over for Lilian right after dinner if you don’t mind.”

It took a great deal of planning for every one to see the soldier lads,
but the time was precious for memories. At Camp Merritt, Philip pointed
out a little hut where food was sold to the soldiers.

“See that sign?” he asked. “‘No Pies.’ That never comes down, because
the boys know when the pies come in, and go at once to buy them out!”

At the little station in Dumont, out from which town the camp was
located, troop trains were being unloaded. Processions of worn, dusty
men were marching away toward the camp and were carrying immense packs
that looked heavy for any one not a giant. The girls watched them and
the great loaded trucks that sped away to take all kinds of supplies to
Camp Merritt. “I grow more and more indignant,” said Hilary. “All this
hardship and risk and worse, and what for?—Just because it happens to be
our job to help defeat some murderers. But it has to be done.”

Those were sober days, and when several days later it was evidently
their last visit to the boys in camp it was hard to say the farewells.
Not far from where Philip and Lilian stood talking, sat a young soldier
and his wife, the latter a frail little woman with a patient, sad look
upon her face. They were not saying a word, only sat with clasped hands
till such time as he would have to go back to quarters. But Philip and
Lilian said goodbye with a brave smile, each to the other, and Lilian
stood watching Philip till he had disappeared within the barracks.



CHAPTER XVI: BUTTERFLY WINGS


Free from school duties, Greycliff girls made plans for the coming year
and threw themselves into the relief work. There were letters from
somewhere in France, boxes sent and mementos received. The great drive
was on in Europe and haunting fear hovered over American homes thus far
untouched. Yet men, women and maids went courageously forward doing
“their bit.”

Cathalina and Lilian had already made their arrangements to study in New
York. Lilian was giving up her music temporarily, for she said that she
did not have the heart to sing while Philip was in France. But she was
continually singing, after all, in patriotic gatherings or in the
hospitals.

Hilary had decided to go to the denominational school which her parents
had selected. Always considering what would be to her advantage, they
concluded that school life would be less distracting for her away from
home, unless she really preferred to be at home and attend the excellent
university in the city. But Betty wrote that her father was considering
the same school for her, and that Eloise and Helen were waiting for her
decision, hoping that they all might be together again. After a little
correspondence, the matter was settled and the girls were greatly
delighted at the prospect.

Pauline Tracy and Juliet Howe were to attend a western state university
miles and miles away from any of the girls they knew,—so they wrote.

Virginia Hope’s application for a school near her home was successful.
Poor Isabel, perhaps, would have the most lonely time. All the older
Hunt boys were in the army now, even Jim, who had shared the fatherly
responsibility for discipline and finances. It was Isabel’s form of
service to stay at home, put as much cheer as possible into the house,
for the sake of the two younger boys, Aunt Helen and her father, and
take up again the friendships of the home town. To this end Isabel was
bending all her energies when school opened for the rest in September.

About this time, the first round robin spread its wings, carrying
epistles somewhat brief on this first flight, and flew with surprising
speed from one to another, because the girls knew that a quick report of
where they all were was needed. Betty, who started it before she left
home for school, wrote across the top of her first page, in large
capitals, “Procrastination is the thief of time,” and under this, in
smaller but heavily underscored letters, “Do It Now.”

The girls followed her advice and wrote without delay, before the
freshness of the news had been lost.

When this round robin reached Betty again, it had grown much in size.
Taking out her first letter, she replaced it with another and started
the robin anew. But it was delayed this time. Things were happening. The
war was being won, the armistice came, Christmas time, soldiers coming
home—what wonder that girls found little time to write to each other in
this fashion. Betty and Cathalina wrote often, and Lilian heard
regularly from Hilary; but three weeks after Betty had handed the round
robin to Hilary she inquired for it, to find that it was in Helen’s
portfolio.

Hilary had been writing a theme and was late in handing the letters to
Eloise. Eloise was to sing at a recital, and Helen had just forgotten
it. Such is sometimes the fate of round robins! By the time the letters
reached Pauline and Juliet, it was nearly time for the Christmas
vacation, and when they arrived in New York the March days were on, many
of the soldier boys at home, and life changing very fast for some of the
Greycliff girls.

“Round robin coming home again,” said Hilary, as she threw the fat
envelope in Betty’s lap one spring day. “Let’s all read it together.”

“Yes, let’s do,” said Helen, “and I will make a few extracts for Evelyn.
I had a forlorn letter from her today, asking why I did not write and
saying that she was starved for news from everybody.”

“She ought to have joined the round robin company.”

“So she says; I will put her name on the list, Betty, and this time I
will just tell her the main things. I’ll call it ‘feathers from the
round robin’.”

“That is good, Helen, and be sure to give her our special love. Is Percy
back?”

“Yes, but Evelyn is interested in one of the wounded boys now, a sort of
cousin of hers.”

“The one she was engaged to once?”

“Oh, yes.”

Betty was opening the large envelope and sorting out the letters which
had been written by the “assembled company,” as she said. “Shall we
glance through each other’s letters?” she asked.

“We know all each other’s news,” reminded Hilary.

“Yes, but we might have said something brilliant, you know,” suggested
Eloise. “It would be a pity to miss anything.”

“Oh, here’s something characteristic from Isabel,” said Betty a little
later. “Listen! She says, ‘I have just _devoured_ the round robin!
Query,—what can you devour and not destroy? The answer is,—a round
robin. It was so good to hear from you all again.’” Here Betty
exclaimed, with a sympathetic “Oh, poor Isabel!”

“What is it?” asked all the girls.

“I’ll just go and read it: ‘You will be sorry for us when I tell you
about Lou, who is still in a hospital in France, and we have been so
worried. At first we got such good news about him, we thought, but he
was gassed and wounded, too, and is not doing very well. Milt is with
him, though, and will bring him home in a few weeks, he thinks. Jim is a
casual now—I’m thankful to say not a casualty—and is wandering around at
the pleasure of various authorities. It is so aggravating when we want
him to come home so much and he is needed. But there are other men in
the army that are worse off.’”

“Take the New York letters next, Betty, will you? We’ve finished reading
these from Pauline and Juliet,—or would you rather read them first.”

“No, I don’t care in what order I read them. Here are those from
Cathalina and Lilian. Shall I read Cathalina’s to you?”

“Yes,” said Helen, “and Hilary can read Phil’s.”

The news from New York was especially interesting, though Hilary had
heard some of it through letters from Campbell Stuart. The cousins,
however, had been widely separated and knew little of each other’s
movements.

“Think of it,” said Helen, “another school year almost gone, and the
boys coming home!”

“It has been a long year,” said Hilary, “and some of them are sleeping
‘on Flander’s Field’.”

But it was in April that the most astounding news came to Betty and the
other girls. It came in a letter from Cathalina, who told how Lilian’s
brother Dick came home looking more ‘fit’ than ever in his life, and how
he and Captain Van Horne, who was growing strong after his wounds, were
in the law office with every chance of success, how Philip was trying to
build up the business which had suffered during the war, with much more
about everybody. Then she asked, “Are you girls prepared to be
bridesmaids in June?”

“Oh, now Lilian and Phil are going to be married!” exclaimed Hilary.
“Funny that she has not said so to me!”

Betty shook her head. “Guess again,” said she.

“Dick and Louise Van Ness,” said Helen.

“But they would not want _us_ to be bridesmaids.”

“I see a dawning intelligence on Hilary’s face,” laughed Betty. “It is,
Hilary, it’s Cathalina.”

“Cathalina!” exclaimed Helen.

“Bless her heart, it was his wound that did it,” said Eloise.

“I can’t read you all the letter, and yet I know in my bones that she
will tell you all about it when you see her. Cathalina is shy about some
things, you know.”

“Cathalina!” exclaimed Helen again. “Now I would have said that Lilian
would be the first and Hilary the second bride, unless Betty,
possibly,——”

Helen was looking at Eloise as she spoke, and Eloise assented to her
statement.

“Not I,” laughed Betty. “I’m thankful that Donald escaped the
submarines, but it will be some years yet before we can get married.
Both of us have to finish college and then Donald will have to get a
start in business. Philip and Dick and Cathalina’s lover are lucky.”

“When did you say the wedding is to be?” asked Helen.

“In June, but the date is not fixed yet. She wants us all for
bridesmaids and will fix the time after school is out, is writing to all
the girls to find out if they can come.”

“Whom do you mean by all the girls? She couldn’t have the whole Psyche
Club, could she?”

“No; she said that she was afraid Pauline, Juliet and Virgie could not
even get to the wedding from things they have written about their plans,
you know. She wants me for maid of honor,—think of it—her mother wants
to have a big wedding and Cathalina doesn’t mind. Then she wants to have
you three girls, of course, with Lilian and Isabel, and then that cousin
of hers that is about her age, Nan Van Ness. And Charlotte Van Ness is
to be flower girl. She says that is as far as she has planned. No, for
there is one thing more,—she wants us to have delicate colors, different
colors, and be the ‘butterfly girls’ of the Psyche Club.”

“Oh, that will be lovely. Cathalina will make a beautiful bride. Did she
say how she is going to be dressed or anything more about how she wanted
the bridesmaids’ dresses to be?”

“No, only that she hadn’t thought it out yet, and she wants us to be
planning to come as soon as school is out in June for a real house-party
again.”

“A house-party, and while they are getting ready for a wedding?” asked
Helen in surprise.

“Cathalina wrote—well, I’ll read it to you: ‘I have not thought out the
details yet. It is all so new and wonderful to be engaged to a man
who,’—maybe I’d better leave out that—anyway she says that it’s love’s
young dream as yet. ‘But Mother and I will sit down some day and put it
all on paper, just what we want, and then the housekeeper and the
decorator and the caterer will carry it all out. I’m going to let Mother
plan my clothes. We’ll do some shopping together right away, and perhaps
Lilian and Mrs. North will go with us some time. Aunt Katharine will
take an interest, too. So about all little Cathalina will have to do is
to try on clothes and say whether she likes them or not. At first I did
not like the thought of a big wedding, but Mother has just one girl to
be married, and believes in being married in church, and then we have so
many friends and such a family connection that there isn’t any other
way.’”

“I see,” said Helen. “I suppose that Mrs. Van Buskirk is used to
planning for big entertainments.”

“I think that they usually have small companies, but they can have the
others and do occasionally,” said Hilary. “Then they have plenty of help
always. In some ways it’s more fun to do things yourself, but this will
be as perfect as money and good taste can make it. And we shall have a
glorious visit.”

“What shall we give her for our wedding present?”

“The Psyche Club might give her a pretty little white marble Psyche.”

“A fine idea, Hilary. Cathalina would love that, I know,—a real
beautiful one. But perhaps she has one.”

“No; she spoke about it once and that is what made me think of it, but
I’m pretty sure that she has not bought one.”

“Then that makes the club present provided for. I’m afraid it will be
hard to think up presents for one who has everything she wants—almost.”

“I felt that way, too, at first,” said Hilary, “when I first visited
Cathalina, but there are ever so many real simple things that Cathalina
likes and I never knew anybody that appreciated being thought of more
than Cathalina. Not that she expects it at all, but she shows so much
real pleasure and delight that it warms your heart to do anything for
her.”

“Cathalina admires my embroidery,” said Eloise, “and I’m going right
down street tomorrow and buy the finest linen I can find and start
something. What shall it be?—doilies? table cover?—Oh, well, I can think
it out better after I look around the shops a little.”

“I could hemstitch and embroider some ‘hankys’,” said Helen.

“Wouldn’t it be fun to have a shower while we are at Cathalina’s?”

“Yes, Betty, but we would not be there long enough beforehand.”

“Cathalina says that she wants us two weeks beforehand, if it is
possible.”

“Let’s hope that school closes early, then.”

“We can plan to leave right after examinations, and not stay for the
Commencement. We are not graduating, and what is a Commencement compared
with a wedding?”

“If we had not been to so many Commencement exercises at Greycliff we
might not think so, but I fully agree with you,” said Hilary. “We can go
right on now with plans for our little gifts and have our clothes ready
for the trip. Think of it!”

On the next mail there came a letter from Cathalina directed to Hilary
and addressed to all the girls, inviting them to be her bridesmaids and
telling of her plans. The date was the same as that of Betty’s and the
two letters had been mailed at the same time. “I’m going to write to
each one of you, separately, and later will have more to tell you about
plans. If you have any suggestions,—mail them on!” There was much more,
all in the happiest vein. Later the formal invitations were sent.

                   *       *       *       *       *

In New York, there was among the relatives a pleasant excitement over
the engagement and approaching marriage of Cathalina. Nan Van Ness, who
was the only one of the girls in the family to be a bridesmaid, was at
the Van Buskirk house a great deal of the time. Lilian ran in and out,
of course, and the girls were in the gayest of spirits. Philip suggested
to Lilian that there be a double wedding, but Lilian said that it would
not do.

“I’m sure that your mother would want this to be Cathalina’s own
wedding, Philip. I know I would in her place. And besides, I believe I
should prefer to have a wedding of my own, too. Then I can’t leave
Mother for a little while. Hearing that Dick was ‘missing’ and not
knowing any better for a month nearly finished her and she has not
gotten over it yet.”

“All right, best and dearest,” said Philip. “We’ll give our little
sister the finest wedding ever, and then I shall not have to wait too
long, shall I?”

“Not very long, Philip. You have been through enough, and I’ll try to
make you forget the sad things in being happy with me. Mother will not
want to keep us apart. I’ve just been so pleased to see how she fusses
over you since you came home, almost as much as she does over Dick.”

The older girls in the family connection did not expect to be
bridesmaids for this wedding. Cathalina had worried about it a little at
first, although Nan was the only one who was of her own age. She loved
the older girls, but did want her “butterfly girls,” as she sometimes
called the girls of the Psyche Club. And after Cathalina learned through
Aunt Katherine and Louise Van Ness that Ann Maria would be married some
time in the summer or fall to a young officer, she knew that Louise and
Emily and the other girls in Ann Maria’s circle of friends would be
bridesmaids for her.

June came and brought the “butterfly girls” to New York. Leaving before
Commencement permitted them to arrive about the close of the first week
in June, and ten days before the wedding. The pretty bridesmaid gowns
were carefully boxed and came through in good condition. Cathalina’s and
Mrs. Van Buskirk’s maids unpacked for the girls and put their clothes in
drawers and closets. Hilary and Betty were in the rose room, Eloise and
Helen near, Isabel in a small room, to sleep by herself in the few hours
which they spent in that occupation, though Mrs. Van Buskirk came around
herself to see that they did not talk too late, reminding them that they
must keep in fine condition for the great event.

There was so much to talk about! Nearly a year, and a strange year, had
some of them been separated Cathalina waited till all the girls had
arrived and then showed them her pretty trousseau. “Dainty and lovely,
like you, Cathalina,” said Isabel.

“I haven’t had anything packed yet, because I wanted you all to see
everything,” said Cathalina, “but the maid is going to begin as soon as
Mother and I select what I shall want with me. We are going to Canada
for our wedding trip, not much of a trip, just to get there and stay in
a perfectly beautiful country place. We shall be there a month and then
may join the folks at the seashore. It’s all beautifully indefinite, and
Allan and I don’t care where we are just so we are together.”

“‘Allan,’—Captain Van Horne! I was going to ask you, Cathalina, if you
called him by his first name.”

Cathalina laughed. “He doesn’t seem so old to me now as when he was an
instructor at Grant. He’s a good deal of a boy, now that he is happy and
does not have to worry about law school and making a living and all
that. He works too hard, of course, I suppose he always will, but he has
such a fine opportunity now that he need not worry. We are not going to
begin on any large scale of living. Just think, girls, what if I had
never learned anything but just being waited on and wanting everything.
We are going to get a darling little apartment as soon as we come back
and start in that. Mother mourns a little and says, ‘Think of this big
house and nobody but your father and me pretty soon!’ But I think that
Father admires both Allan and Phil for wanting to be independent. If the
presents keep coming at the rate they are, a little apartment will not
hold them all. However, I can store them here.”

“When did it happen, Cathalina?” asked Isabel.

“Getting engaged, you mean?”

Isabel nodded. “I do not mean to be inquisitive, but we thought that you
did not hear from him very often,—and so I just wondered when.”

“No, I did not hear from him often, neither was I sure that he cared in
that way for me. I dreamed of him, but was more or less ashamed of it,
and scolded myself for having such a hero when he probably only thought
of me as a good friend—though there _were_ times——”

“Yes,” said Betty. “If ever there was adoration in a man’s eyes, it was
in Captain Van Horne’s one time, on that picnic at Greycliff. I told
Cathalina so, but she made light of it.”

“What else could I do?” asked Cathalina. “The reason I didn’t hear was
that he was in action so much of the time, and he was wounded twice. The
first time it didn’t amount to much and he went back, but the second
time he was in the hospital over there a long time, and was sent home
from there. He came to New York, but got sick on the way, and had to go
to a hospital here. Then he wrote me a little note and I went to see
him.” Cathalina stopped. “I can just see him now,” she went on in a
moment, lowering her voice. “He was so thin and white and he stretched
out both his hands to me and called me his darling. I felt like his
_mother_ and went right to him and slipped my arm under his head! Wasn’t
it dreadful? He says that he had just waked up and when the nurse showed
me in he thought it must be in heaven. Philip jokes me about it and
tells me that Allan was out of his mind and that I took advantage of it!
But if he were out of his mind for a minute it would not explain all he
told me when he was in his right mind a few minutes later and it all
came out; so I have no reason to wonder about whether he loves me or
not.”

“It’s funny how suddenly these things do happen,” said Hilary, thinking
of her own experience.

“Yes,” said Betty, “but you must remember that everything has been so
different with our boys, and such tragedies of separation have happened
that there has been good reason for romantic and sudden——”

“Episodes,” finished Isabel.

The girls were all sitting on Cathalina’s bed from which the pretty
dresses and other things had been cleared after the display, or on
chairs drawn close as they held this rather intimate conversation, all
so interested and sympathetic toward the prospective bride. Isabel was
on one side of Cathalina and Betty on the other, and all the girls were
so delighted to have the short reunions, so eager to hear the
confidences.

“As soon as Allan was able he went into the office and besides that he
had a little bit of good luck in getting some property sold that had
been only an expense, something from his father’s estate, I guess,—you
know, Betty, how beautifully indefinite I am. I don’t really know,
except that he can afford to get married now. He is coming to call this
evening and see you all. Now ask Lilian how her love affair is coming
on.” Cathalina turned with a smile to her future sister-in-law.

“Yes, Lilian,” said Eloise, “tell us when that event will be.”

“Before so very long, Eloise, but Mother is not well and I shall just
quietly get ready and have a small wedding, though probably in the same
church, and just have the family in afterwards. Mrs. Van Buskirk wants
to give a reception for us after our trip, so that will probably happen.
Could you girls get back for it? I hate to be married without you.”

The girls looked doubtful and regretful. “We always expected to have
this reunion at your wedding, Lilian,” said Eloise, “and did not dream
that Cathalina would be the first one to leave our ranks; but perhaps
you are really more free to visit than you will be later when you are
getting married yourself.”

“There is something in that, Eloise,” acknowledged Lilian. “But come, if
you possibly can,” she added, and the girls all promised that they
would.

That first evening, Allan Van Horne duly appeared. It was the first time
that the girls had seen him not in uniform, either that of the school
where he taught or that of Uncle Sam, and they came to the conclusion
that he appeared well in citizen’s ordinary attire.

“He is handsome even without the uniform, Cathalina,” said Isabel when
she had opportunity for a private remark.

“I don’t know that he is what you would call a handsome man,” replied
Cathalina reflectively, looking across the room at her prospective
husband, who was chatting with Philip, Lilian and Betty. “But he carries
himself so well and has such a fine face. Of course, I think that he is
just about the most adorable man there is.”

“What color are his eyes? I thought they were blue, but they look like
brown eyes tonight.”

“Isn’t that funny? Betty insisted that they were blue, and I thought of
them as brown, and they really are, I guess, though Allan says that he
was said to have hazel eyes. Anyway they are nice, kind eyes.”

Hilary and Campbell were having a little visit now, their chairs drawn
near the piano, where Philip had gone to look over some music for Lilian
to sing. Mr. and Mrs. Van Buskirk had settled down to read a little or
visit the young people, as it might happen. It was like the good old
days before the war, and the sound of young voices and young laughter
cheered their hearts.

Campbell was telling Hilary a piece of good news. “They want me at the
college, Hilary. I had a letter today from the president. I will be an
instructor at first, but with a fair salary, and a chance to get out my
master’s degree right there. And summers I can work on my line, too.
They will make me an assistant professor as soon as I get the master’s
degree and I can take care of you then. Will you marry me as soon as you
graduate?”

Hilary clasped her hands and exclaimed. “Why, Campbell, what an
opportunity! So I’m to be the wife of a distinguished professor of
economics?”

“I don’t know how ‘distinguished,’ but a respectable teacher, I hope,”
replied Campbell.

“Perhaps you ought to wait until you have all your study accomplished,”
said Hilary.

“The college—university—is big enough for me to do most of it right
there; besides, I want to get a great deal of my material from life and
a study of actual conditions. That is what the department there wants,
and the president was good enough to say that he thought I was the man
who could bring them what they want. Then they don’t know what a
wonderful wife I’m going to take there!”

Hilary laughed. “Well, I do not see but we could marry next summer some
time, while you have your vacation. I shall be graduated about this
time, and you will be through with your first year’s work.”

Just then from the hall came several young men in uniform, ushered by
Watts. “Bob Paget!” exclaimed Cathalina, and the whole company rose
while Mr. and Mrs. Van Buskirk, Philip and Cathalina went forward to
greet the callers. They were Robert Paget, Lawrence Haverhill and two
other young officers who had recently arrived from France and were still
in uniform. This was very thrilling to Isabel, who began to feel that
she was not altogether left out of romance when Robert, having renewed
acquaintance with his cousin, Helen, selected Isabel as the object of
his chief attentions for the rest of the evening, saying to Cathalina as
he left. “She is as sweet and pretty as a rose. How did it happen that I
never met that one?”

“You were away, I think, when she was here,” Cathalina replied, and
saved the remembrance of his words, to repeat to Isabel.

Cut glass, silver, linen, china,—the gifts came pouring in these last
few days. Then there was a little of the old Van Buskirk silver which
was Cathalina’s share. “I’ve found out, girls,” said she, “that Martin
Van Buskirk was not the first one at all and did not come from Holland
to fight in the Revolution. We had it all looked up when somebody wanted
to go into the Daughters of the Revolution. It was a Laurens Van Buskirk
who came from Denmark and bought a lot on Broad Street, New
Amsterdam,—’way back in 1655. And what do you think,—a John Van Buskirk
married an Esther Van Horn about 1750! So this isn’t the first time that
Van Buskirk and Van Horn have married. We are going to see if she is an
ancestor of Allan’s, if we can find out. She was Esther Van Horn Van
Buskirk, and I’ll be Cathalina Van Buskirk Van Horne. See Isabel shaking
her head! What’s the matter, Isabel?”

“All these ‘Vans’ are too much for me, It’s a good thing you can keep
them straight, Cathalina.”

At last there came the eventful occasion, a mid-June night. Everything
was ready at the Van Buskirk home and an extra maid or two helped the
girls with their dressing. Cathalina had disappeared from view entirely
several hours before, as her mother insisted upon a little rest for
everybody that afternoon, and trays were brought to the rooms about five
o’clock. Bags and trunks were already at the station, checked for the
trip and Allan Van Horne had his tickets safely in the suit to which he
would change from his dress suit. Phil remarked that as there were so
many details to attend to about a wedding he thought that he would “just
kidnap Lilian, stop at a minister’s to be married, and catch the first
train out of New York, or take the boat.”

“Where to?” asked Lilian upon this occasion.

“Heaven,” promptly replied Philip. “Anywhere with you would be that.”

There had been plenty of fun in this time of visiting, but some
seriousness, too. And now the wedding promised to be as beautiful as
Mrs. Van Buskirk wanted it to be for Cathalina.

The night was star-lit, warm, but not stifling, and the June roses in
the vases gave the proper atmosphere to the house. Mr. Van Buskirk told
the girls, as they gathered downstairs preparatory to the ride to the
church, that they did indeed look like “butterfly girls,” with their
vari-colored frocks of soft silk and filmy tulle. All the colors were
pale, Betty’s frock, blue; Lilian’s, peach; Hilary’s, green; Eloise’s,
yellow; Helen’s, orchid; Isabel’s, pink; and Nan’s, lavender. Smiling,
girlish faces above these pale shades and the flowers made a charming
picture for the bride to look upon as she entered to see the girls
before leaving.

They had been talking a little, as they waited these few minutes, but
all conversation stopped as Cathalina came in. Graceful and sweet in her
white satin, the white veil floating back from where it was caught in a
coronet of lace, she was, indeed, their own Cathalina. Betty swallowed a
lump and the tears almost came to Hilary’s eyes. “Oh,” said Isabel,
“when Captain Van Horne sees you coming down the aisle, he will think it
is an angel!”

“Not much of an angel, I’m afraid,” said Cathalina, as she went around
and kissed every one. “Come on, everybody,” she said. “I wanted to tell
you, and Mother is waiting. Have you my flowers, Father?”

“They have been put in the car, little daughter.”

It seemed only a minute before they were at the church getting ready the
little procession which would accompany Cathalina. Philip was best man,
and stood at the altar, with Allan Van Horne, wondering how it would
seem when he was the groom. He suffered one pang when he thought “what
if I haven’t the ring,” but a distinct recollection of putting it in his
pocket consoled him. The old minister, too, was waiting, the same
minister who had baptized Cathalina and was now to marry her.

Then they came, first, Charlotte Van Buskirk, as flower girl. Betty, as
maid of honor; Lilian with Hilary, Eloise with Helen, and Isabel with
Nan followed, and the bride on the arm of Philip Senior. Now the hush,
the solemn words of the service, and Cathalina Van Horne, with her
bridal flowers, walked out of the church on the arm of her husband.

                               THE END





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Greycliff Wings" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home