DOROTHY DAINTY AT GLENMORE
With Illustrations by the Author
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BY AMY BROOKS.
Each illustrated by the Author.
THE RANDY BOOKS.
12mo. Cloth. Cover Designs by the Author. Net $1.00 each
RANDY'S SUMMER. RANDY'S GOOD TIMES. RANDY'S WINTER. RANDY'S LUCK. RANDY AND HER FRIENDS. RANDY'S LOYALTY. RANDY AND PRUE. RANDY'S PRINCE.
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For Younger Readers.
DOROTHY DAINTY SERIES.
Large 12mo. Cloth. Cover Designs by the Author. Set in large English type. Price, net, $1.00 each.
DOROTHY DAINTY. DOROTHY'S PLAYMATES. DOROTHY DAINTY AT SCHOOL. DOROTHY DAINTY AT THE SHORE. DOROTHY DAINTY IN THE CITY. DOROTHY DAINTY AT HOME. DOROTHY DAINTY'S GAY TIMES. DOROTHY DAINTY IN THE COUNTRY. DOROTHY DAINTY'S WINTER. DOROTHY DAINTY AT THE MOUNTAINS. DOROTHY DAINTY'S HOLIDAYS. DOROTHY DAINTY'S VACATION. DOROTHY DAINTY'S VISIT. DOROTHY DAINTY AT CRESTVILLE. DOROTHY DAINTY'S NEW FRIENDS. DOROTHY DAINTY AT GLENMORE.
THE PRUE BOOKS.
12mo. Cloth. Cover Designs by the Author. Net $1.00 each.
LITTLE SISTER PRUE. PRUE'S MERRY TIMES. PRUE AT SCHOOL. PRUE'S LITTLE FRIENDS. PRUE'S PLAYMATES. PRUE'S JOLLY WINTER.
* * * * *
A JOLLY CAT TALE. Large 12mo. Cloth. Profusely Illustrated. Price Net $1.00
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Boston Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. Dorothy Dainty Trade-Mark Registered in U.S. Patent Office Published, August, 1917 Copyright, 1917, by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. All rights reserved DOROTHY DAINTY AT GLENMORE Norwood Press Berwick & Smith Co. Norwood, Mass. U.S.A.
I OFF TO GLENMORE 1
II THE FIRST SOCIAL 18
III MISCHIEF 40
IV A WONDERFUL TONIC 61
V A SLEIGHING PARTY 82
VI THE LOST NECKLACE 99
VII WHEN NANCY DANCED 122
VIII A BIT OF SPITE 138
IX THE WISHING-WELL 157
X A LIVELY WEEK 181
XI AN INNOCENT SNEAK-THIEF 202
XII A GLAD RETURN 219
"A letter from Vera!" answered Dorothy (Page 3) Frontispiece
FACING PAGE She wished that she might know what they were saying 32
"Oh, what a fright!" she cried 74
"This necklace is mine!" returned the accused girl excitedly 112
At the end of the wall Betty and Valerie waited 150
Drawing closer, Nancy whispered a rare bit of news 186
DOROTHY DAINTY AT GLENMORE
OFF TO GLENMORE
The Stone House looked as fine, and its gardens as gay with flowers, as when the members of the household were to be at home for a season, for it always seemed at those times as if the blossoming plants did their best, because sure of loving admiration.
But something entirely new was about to happen; something that made Dorothy Dainty catch her breath, while her dearest friend, Nancy Ferris, declared that she was wildly happy, except that the whole thing seemed so like a dream that she could hardly believe it.
"That's just it, Nancy," said Dorothy. "It surely does seem like a dream."
Yet it was true, and not a dream that Mr. Dainty was to be away from home for some months, that Mrs. Dainty was to accompany him, and that Aunt Charlotte would be with them, and that Dorothy and Nancy were to spend those months at a fine school for girls, and Vera Vane, merry, mischief-loving Vera, would be eagerly looking for them on the day of their arrival. One would almost wonder that the thought of being away at school should appeal to Dorothy and Nancy, but it was the novelty that charmed them.
It was always delightful at the Stone House, and there had been summer seasons at shore and country that they had greatly enjoyed, but here was a new experience, and the "newness" was delightful.
A letter from Vera had just arrived, and Dorothy, out in the garden when the postman had handed it to her, stood reading it.
"Her letters are just like herself," she whispered.
She looked up. Nancy was calling to her.
"A letter from Vera!" answered Dorothy.
"We shall have to hurry a bit," Nancy said, "James is strapping the two trunks, the suit-cases are out in the hall, and we must be ready in twenty minutes."
"All right!" cried Dorothy. "Give me your hand and we'll run to the house."
She tucked the letter into the front of her blouse, and then promptly forgot all about it.
The "twenty minutes" sped on wings, and when at last Dorothy and Nancy sat side by side in the car, their trunks checked, their suit-cases, and umbrellas on the seat that had been turned over for them, they turned, each to look into the other's eyes.
Dorothy's lip quivered, but she spoke bravely.
"It is hard, this first trip away from home without mother or Aunt Charlotte with us," she said. Then quickly she added:
"But it will be fine when we get used to being away from home."
"Oh, yes, it will be fine!" Nancy said in a firm voice, but she looked down, lest her eyes show a suspicious moisture.
As the journey progressed, their spirits rose. After all, it was not really "good-by," yet.
Mrs. Dainty had postponed the actual "good-by" until a week after Dorothy and Nancy should have begun the school year at Glenmore.
She knew that Vera Vane was a host in herself, her friend and chum, Elfreda was nearly her equal in active wit, and high spirits, and at least a few of the other pupils would have already formed a speaking acquaintance with the two new girls.
The girls would have been assigned places in the classes for which they were fitted, and thus the school work would be planned, and their time closely occupied.
Mrs. Dainty and Aunt Charlotte were also eager to know if the two who were so dear to them were comfortable, satisfied with their surroundings, and looking forward to a pleasant school year. Until thus assured, they could not set out on the journey, for the trip had been planned as a means of rest and recuperation for Mrs. Dainty. How could she rest, or enjoy the trip unless she were sure that Dorothy was absolutely content and happy? If Dorothy were happy, Nancy was sure to be, because the two were inseparable, and their tastes nearly identical.
The two girls were a bit tired of looking from the window at the flying scenery, and Nancy expressed the wish that they had brought something with them to read.
"I did," Dorothy said, with a laugh, and she drew Vera's letter from her blouse.
She read it aloud, while Nancy leaned against her shoulder, enjoying it with her.
"I wish you had come the first day that school opened, but I'll be on the lookout for you and Nancy. My! But we'll have fun and a plenty of it this year at Glenmore," she concluded, signed her name, and then added a postscript.
"Patricia, and Arabella are here, both—no, each—oh, which should I say? Anyway, they're acting just outrageous, and already they've earned the name that the girls have given them. They call them 'The Freaks,' and truly the name fits. They speak of Patricia as 'the one with the queer clothes,' and of Arabella as 'the medicine-chest.'
"She's taking more pills, I do believe, than she ever did at home, and she wants folks to notice that.
"The idea! I'm glad there are two nice girls coming from Merrivale, although you'd never think Patricia ever saw the place, for she talks of nothing but 'N'York.' My brother Bob always laughs about my long postscripts. It's lucky he can't see this one!
Dorothy folded the letter, again placing it in her blouse, and then for a time they watched the passengers.
Opposite them was a big woman, who possessed three bird-cages, two holding birds, and the third imprisoning a kitten.
There was a lean man with a fat little girl beside him, who ate countless lunches, which were packed in a big basket, that seemed a veritable horn of plenty.
Yet a bit farther up the aisle was a small boy with a large cage that he watched closely.
A thick cloth covered it, but once, when the boy was not looking, a long brown furry arm reached out, and snatched mischievously at his sleeve.
"It's a monkey," whispered Nancy, and the boy turned and grinned.
"'F he knew there was a monkey in that cage he'd make me put it in the baggage car," he said.
Dorothy was tired with the long ride, and just as she was thinking that she could not bear much more of it, the brakeman shouted, "Glenmore! Glenmore!" and the two girls were glad enough to get out upon the platform.
Glenmore, the village, was a lovely little country place, quiet, and evidently content with itself.
Glenmore, the school, was a rambling, picturesque home for the pupils who came there.
Once it had been a private mansion, but its interior had been remodeled to meet the requirements of a small, and select school for girls.
A bit old-fashioned in that it was more genuinely homelike than other private schools, it held itself proudly aloof from neighboring buildings.
It claimed that its home atmosphere was the only old-fashioned thing about it, and that was not an idle boast, for the old house had been equipped with every modern convenience. Its instructors were the best that a generous salary could tempt to Glenmore, and Mrs. Marvin, owner, promoter, and manager of the school, was an exceedingly clever woman for the position.
As assistant, Miss Fenler, small, and wiry, did all that was required of her, and more. She had never been appointed as a monitor, but she chose to do considerable spying, so that the pupils had come to speak of her as the "detective."
One of her many duties was to see that the carryall was at the station when new pupils were to arrive.
Accordingly when Dorothy and Nancy left the train, and found themselves on the platform, Miss Fenler was looking for them, and she stowed them away in the carryall much as if they had been only ordinary baggage.
Then, seating herself beside the driver, she ordered him to return.
"Home," she said, and "home" they were driven, for "home" meant Glenmore to the colored man, who considered himself a prominent official of the school.
Classes were in session when they reached Glenmore, so Miss Fenler went with them to the pretty room that was to be theirs, a maid following with suit-cases, the colored man bringing up the rear with one trunk, and a promise to return on the next trip with the other.
A class-room door, half open, allowed a glimpse of the new arrivals.
"See the procession with the 'Fender' ahead," whispered a saucy miss.
"Her name's 'Fenler,'" corrected her chum.
"I know that, but I choose to call her 'Fender,' because she's like those they have on engines to scoop up any one who is on the tracks. She's just been down to the station to 'scoop' two new pupils, and I guess—"
A tap of a ruler left the sentence unfinished.
Arabella Correyville, without an idea as to what was whispered, had seen the broad smile, and had heard the giggle.
"Who was out there?" she wrote on a bit of paper, and cautiously passed it to Patricia Levine.
"I don't know. I didn't see them, but they must be swell. They had ever so much luggage." That was just like Patricia. She judged every one thus.
That a girl could be every inch a lady, and at the same time, possess a small, well chosen wardrobe was past understanding; but any girl, however coarse in appearance and manner, could, with a display of many gaudy costumes, convince Patricia that she was a young person of great importance.
Miss Fenler talked with them for a few moments, and then left them to unpack their belongings, saying that later, when they felt rested, they might come down to the reception hall and meet some of the girls who would be their classmates during the year.
It was the custom, she said, for the pupils to meet for a social half-hour before dinner, to talk over the happenings of the day, their triumphs or failures in class-room, or at sports, or to tell what had interested those who had been out for a tramp.
There had been an afternoon session that day for the purpose of choosing from the list of non-compulsory studies.
"Usually," Miss Fenler explained, "the classes meet for recitations in the forenoon only, the afternoons being reserved for study, and when lessons were prepared, for recreation."
Miss Fenler left them, closing the door softly behind her.
Dorothy turned to look at Nancy.
"What do you think of her?" Nancy said, asking the question that she knew was puzzling Dorothy.
After a second's thought Dorothy said:
"We shall get on with her, I believe, but I can't think Arabella or Patricia would be very comfortable here. Really, they will be obliged to study here, and Arabella won't want to, and I don't think Patricia could. If they don't study, how can they remain?"
Nancy laughed outright.
"Don't worry about those two funny girls," she said, "for if they won't study, or can't study, and so are not allowed to remain, you'll be just as happy, Dorothy dear, and for that matter, so will they."
Later, when together they descended the quaint stairway, they found the ever-present Miss Fenler, waiting to present them.
Vera Vane, and Elfreda Carleton, each with an arm about the other's waist, hastened forward to greet them.
"Oh, we're so glad you and Nancy have—"
"Just a moment Miss Vane, until you have been properly presented," Miss Fenler said, in a cold, precise manner.
"But I've always known Dorothy—"
"That makes no difference," the assistant said, and she presented them in formal manner.
Vera raised her eyebrows, presented the tips of her fingers, and told Dorothy in a high, squeaky voice that she was very glad to know her. Elf did the same in an exact copy of Vera's manner.
Several of the pupils giggled, but to their credit, Dorothy and Nancy managed not to laugh.
When a half-dozen girls had been presented, some one told Miss Fenler that Mrs. Marvin wished to see her, and what had begun in a stilted manner, became a genuine girl's social.
When the clock in the hall chimed six, and they turned toward the long dining-room, the two new pupils had already made the acquaintance of several girls, who sat beside, and opposite them at the table.
From a distant table Patricia and Arabella were turning to attract their attention.
It had happened that Arabella had chosen to remain in her room during the half-hour reunion.
"I don't feel like talking to a crowd of girls to-night," she had said.
"My! If you don't care to talk to girls, it must be you'd rather talk to boys!" Patricia said, laughing.
"I would not!" Arabella remarked, with a flash in her eyes that one rarely saw.
"Oh, do excuse me!" Patricia said, "but that's all right, for I'll stay right here and talk to you."
Arabella was not in much of a mood for listening, either, but she thought it best not to say so. At any other time, Arabella would have listened for hours to whatever Patricia might care to say, but to-night she was in a contrary mood.
THE FIRST SOCIAL
Two weeks at Glenmore, and Dorothy and Nancy were content. Letters from Mrs. Dainty and Aunt Charlotte assured them that the dear travelers were well, and that already Mrs. Dainty was feeling the benefit of the change of scene.
Mrs. Dainty had engaged a large, front room at Glenmore for the two girls to enjoy as a sitting-room and study, from which led a tastefully furnished chamber, and already they called it their "school home."
Patricia and Arabella had a fair-sized room farther down the corridor. Vera Vane and Elfreda Carleton were snugly settled in cozy quarters a few doors beyond the one that bore Dorothy's and Nancy's names. Patricia Levine had ordered a large card, elaborately lettered in red and green, announcing that:
THIS SUITE IS OCCUPIED
MISS P. LEVINE
MISS A. CORREYVILLE
A small card was all that was necessary, indeed only a small card was permitted, but Patricia did not know that. After her usual manner of doing things, she had ordered a veritable placard of the village sign painter, and when she had tacked it upon the door, it fairly shouted, in red and green ink.
"There!" she exclaimed, "I guess when the other girls see that, they'll think the two who have this room are pretty swell."
"Isn't it,—rather—loud?" ventured Arabella timidly.
Patricia's eyes blazed.
"Loud?" she cried. "Well, what do you want? A card that will whisper?"
"Maybe it's all right," Arabella said quickly, to which Patricia responded:
"Of course it's all right. It's more than all right! It's very el'gant!"
Arabella was no match for her room-mate, and whenever a question arose regarding any matter of mutual interest, it was always Patricia who settled it, and Arabella who meekly agreed that she was probably right.
Arabella was not gentle, indeed she possessed a decidedly contrary streak, but she always feared offending Patricia, because Patricia could be very disagreeable when opposed.
Patricia was still admiring the gaudy lettering when a door at the far end of the corridor opened.
She sprang back into her room, closed the door and standing close to it waited to hear if the big card provoked admiring comment.
Nearer came the footsteps.
Could they pass without seeing it? They paused—then:
"Well, just look at that!"
"A regular sign-board!"
A few moments the two outside the door stood whispering, then one giggled, and together they walked to the stairway and descended, laughing all the way.
Patricia opened the door and peeped out. "It was that red-haired girl, and the black-haired one that are always together," she reported to Arabella.
"Now, what in the world were they laughing at?"
"Laughing at the big card, I suppose," Arabella said.
"Well, there's nothing funny about that," Patricia said, hotly. "It cost ever so much more than the teenty little cards on the other doors did." Patricia rated everything by its cost.
"They knew that big card looked fine, and they certainly could see that the lettering was showy," she continued; "so why did they stand outside the door giggling?"
"How do I know?" Arabella said.
"Open the door, and we'll look at it again, and see if—"
A smart tap upon the door caused Arabella to stop in the middle of the sentence.
"S'pose it's those same girls?" whispered Patricia. "If I thought it was I wouldn't stir a step."
A second rap, louder, and more insistent than the first brought both girls to their feet, and Patricia flew to open the door.
Miss Fenler glared at them through her glasses.
"Why did you not answer my first rap?" she asked.
"We didn't know it was you," said Patricia.
Ignoring the excuse, Miss Fenler continued: "I called to tell you to remove that great card, and put a small one in its place with only your names upon it, and in regard to your efforts to obtain work, you can not have any such notice upon your door. Instead you must leave your names at the office and I will see if any of the pupils will patronize you."
"I don't know what you mean!" cried Patricia, flushed and angry.
For answer Miss Fenler pointed to a line penciled on the lower edge of the placard which read:
Patching and mending done at reasonable prices.
"We never wrote that!" cried Arabella, "and we don't want to be patronized."
"The red-haired girl, and the black-haired girl that are always together, stopped at the door and did something, and then went down stairs laughing all the way," screamed Patricia. "'Twas one of those two who wrote that."
"I must ask you to talk quietly," Miss Fenler said, "and as to the writing, I'll look into that. In the meantime I'll get a small card for you to put in place of that large one."
She left the room, and as soon as she was well out of hearing, Patricia vowed vengeance upon the two girls who had written the provoking legend.
"I'll get even with them!" she said.
"How will you?" Arabella asked.
"I don't know yet, but you'd better believe I'll watch for a chance!"
"I'll watch, too!" cried Arabella.
It was the custom at Glenmore to hold a little informal reception on an evening of the third week after the school had opened.
Its purpose was to have pupils of all the classes present so that those who never met in the recitation-rooms might become acquainted.
When the announcement appeared upon the bulletin board it caused a flurry of excitement.
Dorothy and Nancy had already found new friends, and were eager to meet others whose agreeable ways had interested them.
"It's such a pleasant place," Dorothy said one morning as she stood brushing her hair, "and so many pleasant faces in the big class-room. I saw at least a dozen I'd like to know, when we were having the morning exercises, and there's ever so many more that we have yet to meet."
"And Tuesday evening is sure to be jolly. There'll be a crowd to talk with, and one of the girls told me to-day that there's almost sure to be some music, either vocal or instrumental, and she said that last year they often had fine readers at the receptions," Nancy concluded.
They were on their way to the class-room, when Patricia and Arabella joined them.
"Is the social to be a dressy affair?" Patricia asked, adding: "I hope it is, because I shall be dressy, whether any one else is or not."
They had reached the class-room door so that there was no time for either Dorothy or Nancy to reply to the silly remark if they had cared to do so.
* * * * *
At eight o'clock nearly all the pupils had assembled in the big reception-room, and the hum of voices told that each was doing her best to outdo her neighbor. Near the center of the room a group of girls stood talking. It was evident that the theme of their conversation was not engrossing, for twice their leader, Betty Chase, had replied at random while her eyes roved toward the door, and Valerie Dare remarked that her chum had been reading such a romantic story, that she was eagerly looking for a knight in full armor to appear.
"Be still!" cried Betty. "You know very well what I'm looking for."
"I do indeed," Valerie admitted. "Say, girls! You all know the two that are always together, the one with goggles that we've dubbed the 'medicine chest,' and her chum who wears all the rainbow colors whenever and wherever she appears?"
"Surely, but what are their names?" inquired a pale, sickly-looking girl who had joined the group.
"Don't know their names," said Betty, "but I heard Miss Rainbow telling her friend that she intended to wear 'something very dressy' to-night, so I'm eager to see her. My! Here she comes now."
"Good gracious!" gasped Valerie, under her breath.
With head very high, Patricia rushed, rather than walked across the room, until she reached the center, when she stopped as if to permit every one to obtain a good view of her costume. Her bold manner made her more absurd even than her dress which was, as Betty Chase declared, "surprising!"
Turning slowly around to the right, then deliberately to the left, she appeared to feel herself a paragon of fashion, a model dressed to give the pupils of Glenmore a chance to observe something a bit finer than they had ever seen before.
As Patricia slowly turned, Arabella, like a satellite, as slowly revolved about her.
Who could wonder that a wave of soft laughter swept over the room. It was evident that vanity equalling that of the peacock moved Patricia to turn about that every one might see both front and back of her dress, but no one could have guessed why Arabella in a plain brown woolen dress kept pace with her silly friend.
It was not vanity that kept droll little Arabella moving. No, indeed.
Thus far, Arabella had made no new acquaintances.
As she entered the reception-room with Patricia she saw only a sea of strange faces, and with a wild determination at least to have Patricia to speak to, she trotted around her, that she might not, at any moment, find herself talking to Patricia's back.
That surely would be awkward, she thought.
Patricia's dress was a light gray silk, tastefully made, and had she been content to wear it as it had been sent to her from New York, she would have looked well-dressed, and no one would have made comments upon her appearance.
The soft red girdle gave a touch of color, but not nearly enough to please Patricia.
At the village store she had purchased ribbons of many colors, from which she had made bows or rosettes of every hue, and these she had tacked upon her slippers. Her hair was tied with a bright blue ribbon, and over the shoulders of her blouse she had sewed pink and yellow ribbons. Narrow green edged her red girdle.
Blue and buff, rose and orange, straw-color and lavender, surely not a tint was missing, and the result was absolutely comical! One would have thought that a lunatic had designed the costume.
And when she believed that her dress had been seen from all angles, Patricia left the reception-room, passing to a larger room beyond, where she seated herself, and at once assumed a bored expression. Not the least interest in other pupils had she. She had come to the little social to be gazed at, and as soon as she believed that all must have seen her, the party held no further interest for her.
She heard the buzz of whispered conversation in the room that she had left, and she wished that she might know what they were saying. It was well that she could not.
"What an unpleasant-looking girl!" said one.
"Wasn't that dress a regular rainbow?" whispered another.
"Oh, but she was funny, turning around for us to see her, just like a wax dummy in a store window," said a third.
"She's queer to go off by herself!" remarked the first one who had spoken.
"We're not very nice," said Betty Chase, who thus far had not spoken, "that is not very kind, to be so busily talking about her."
"Well, I declare, Betty, who'd ever dream that you, who are always getting into scrapes would boldly give us a lecture."
Betty's black eyes flashed.
"I know I get into funny scrapes," she snapped, "but whatever I do, I don't talk about people, Ida Mayo."
"You don't have time to," exclaimed her chum, Valerie Dare. "It takes all your spare time to plan mischief."
In the laugh that followed, Betty forgot that she was vexed.
Patricia began to find it rather dull sitting alone in a room back of the reception-hall.
She felt that she had entered the hall in a burst of glory; had fairly dazzled all beholders!
She had believed that the girls would be so entranced with her appearance that they would follow her that they might again inspect her costume.
She was amazed that she had been permitted to sit alone if she chose.
The other pupils thought it strange that she should choose to remain alone instead of becoming acquainted with those who were to be her schoolmates for the year, but believing that she was determined to be unsocial, they made no effort to disturb her.
Arabella, who had followed her, became curious as to what was going on in the hall, and from time to time, crept to the wide doorway, peeped out to get a better view, then returned to report what she had seen.
"Everybody is talking to Dorothy and Nancy," she said in a stage whisper, then:
"Vera Vane seems to know almost every one already, and Elf Carleton is telling a funny story, and making all the girls around her laugh.
"And, Patricia, you ought to come here and see Betty Chase. She has a long straw, and she's tickling Valerie's neck with it. Valerie doesn't dream what it is, and while she's talking, keeps trying to brush off the tickly thing. Come and see her!"
Patricia did not stir. She longed to see the fun, but she felt rather abashed to come out from her corner.
The sound of a violin being tuned proved too tempting, however, and she joined Arabella in the doorway.
One of the youngest pupils stood, violin in hand, while, at the piano, Betty Chase was playing the prelude. Lina Danford handled the bow cleverly, and played her little solo with evident ease.
Her audience was delighted, and gayly their hands clapped their approval. The two in the doorway stood quite still, and gave no evidence of pleasure. Arabella was too spunkless to applaud; Patricia was too jealous.
Arabella, after her own dull fashion, had enjoyed the music.
Patricia surely had not.
Patricia never could bear to see or hear any one do anything!
"Let's go up to our room," she whispered.
"P'rhaps some of the others will play or sing," ventured Arabella, who wished to remain.
"Let 'em!" Patricia said, even her whisper showing that she was vexed.
"'Let 'em?'" Arabella drawled. "Why I'll have to let 'em. I couldn't stop them, and I don't want to. I'd like to hear them."
"Then stay and hear them!" snapped Patricia, and she rushed out into the midst of the groups of listeners, and dashed up the stairway before Miss Fenler could stop her.
What could have been more rude and ill-bred than to leave in such haste, thereby disturbing those who were enjoying the music?
Arabella's first thought was to follow Patricia lest she be angry, but she saw Miss Fenler's effort to stay Patricia, and she dared not leave the room.
Arabella felt as if she were between two desperate people.
She feared Miss Fenler, as did every pupil at Glenmore, and by remaining where she was, she certainly was not offending her, but she could not forget Patricia. What a temper she would be in when, after the concert was over, Arabella, cautiously, would turn the latch, and enter their chamber!
Patricia was wide awake, and listening, when at last Arabella reached their door. Softly she tried to open it so carefully that if Patricia were asleep she might remain so.
Patricia had turned the key in the lock, and she fully enjoyed lying comfortably on the bed, and listening while on the other side of the door her chum was turning the knob first one way and then the other.
There's no knowing how long she would have permitted Arabella to stand out in the hall, but suddenly she remembered that Miss Fenler strode down the corridors every night after lights were supposed to be out, just to learn if any one of the girls were defying the rule.
With a rather loud "O dear!" Patricia flounced out of bed, went to the door, pretended to be so sleepy that she could not at once find the key, and then, as the door opened, gave an exaggerated yawn.
For once Arabella was quick-witted.
"Miss Fenler is just coming up the stairs," she said.
Patricia forgot the scolding that she had been preparing for Arabella, and instead she said:
"Hurry! Put out the light. You can undress in the dark, but for goodness' sake, don't stumble over anything!"
A few days later, Dorothy stood at the window looking out upon a windswept road, where not even so much as a dry leaf remained to tell of the vanished Autumn.
The sky was cloud-covered, and the gaunt trees bent and swayed as if a giant arm were shaking them.
"We missed our afternoon trip down to the village," she said, "but no one would care to walk in this gale, and even—why, who—? Nancy, come here! Isn't that Patricia?"
Nancy ran to the window.
"Why, no—yes,—Well, it certainly is Patricia," she said.
"And just look at the parcel she's carrying!"
"Whatever it is, she must have wanted it, to go out such day as this," said Nancy, "and look! Miss Fenler is out on the porch,—why, she's actually feeling of it to see what's in the parcel. Really, I don't see why it's all right for her to do that."
"It does seem queer," agreed Dorothy, "but you know it is the rule that the girls must not bring large parcels into this house, unless they're willing to show what is in them.
"There! The paper has burst open, and,—Well, did you see that?"
Miss Fenler was actually thrusting a long bony finger into the opening with the hope of learning if anything that had been forbidden, was being smuggled into the house inside the folds of gayly flowered goods that Patricia had declared was a tea-gown. After a moment, Miss Fenler nodded as if dismissing the matter, and Patricia, her chin very high, passed into the hall. Miss Fenler turned to look after her, as if not sure if she had done wisely in permitting Patricia to enter with so large a bundle, without first compelling her to open it, and spread its contents for inspection.
Patricia's eyes had flashed when questioned about her parcel, but once inside the hall, her anger increased, and she mounted the stairs, tramping along the upper hall so noisily that several pupils looked out to learn who had arrived. Farther down the hall a door opened, and Betty Chase's laughing face looked out. She, too, had seen Patricia and Miss Fenler on the porch and, while she did not like Patricia, she detested the woman who seemed to enjoy spying, so her sympathy was, of course, with the pupil.
"Had a scrap with the 'Fender'? I'd half a mind to say 'cow-catcher,'" she said.
"Well, what if I did?" Patricia said, rudely, and walked on toward her room.
Betty looked after her.
"Well, of all things!" she whispered, then said, "The next time you need sympathy, try to buy some at the grocer's. Don't look to me!"
Patricia had done a rude, and foolish thing. Betty Chase was a favorite, and Patricia had longed to be one of her friends, but thus far Betty had been surrounded by her classmates, who hovered about her so persistently that the pupils from Merrivale had not yet become acquainted with her. Betty had hailed Patricia pleasantly, and she really might have paused for a little chat, but she was one of those unpleasant persons who, when some one person has annoyed her, is vexed with the whole world. She took little heed as to where she was going, and stamped along, muttering some of the many wrathful thoughts that filled her mind.
Reaching a door that stood ajar, she pushed it open, and rushed in exclaiming:
"The horrid old thing tried to pick open my parcel, but I wouldn't let her. I guess Miss Sharp-eyes won't try again to—Why, where are you, Arabella?"
A tall, thin girl with a pale face and colorless hair emerged from the closet where she had been hanging some garments.
"Do you rush into people's rooms, and call them names?" she asked in a peculiar drawl.
Patricia for once, was too surprised to speak.
"My name is not Arabella, nor Miss Sharp-eyes," concluded the girl.
"I—I beg your pardon. I thought this was my own room," gasped Patricia, and rushing from the room, opened the next door on which her own name and Arabella's appeared. She flew in, banging the door behind her.
Arabella sprang to her feet, dropped her glasses, picked them up, and setting them upon her nose, stared through them at Patricia.
"Don't you speak a single word!" commanded Patricia, "for I'm 'bout as mad as I can be now, and if I get any madder—"
She stopped in sheer amazement, for Arabella had put on her hat, and was now getting into her coat.
"Where are you going?" demanded Patricia, but Arabella put her left hand over her lips, while with her right she slipped another button into its buttonhole, and sidled toward the door.
Patricia sprang forward, locked the door, took Arabella by the shoulder, and pushed her toward a chair. Surprised, and calmed by Arabella's silence, and her attempt to leave the room, Patricia now spoke in an injured tone.
"I'd never believe you'd start to go out, when I'd just come in so vexed, and with loads of things to tell you. For goodness' sake, can't you answer?"
"You told me not to say a word," said Arabella, "and you looked so cross that I just didn't dare to, and I was going out so I'd be sure not to."
Patricia was flattered to learn that Arabella had actually been afraid of her. "Goosie!" she cried, "when will you learn that I don't always mean all that I say! Old Sharp-eyes didn't really open my bundle. Come over here and see what was hidden in it."
She opened the parcel of gaily-flowered cotton, and began to unfold the goods.
"There!" she cried when the last fold was loosed, and six packages were proudly displayed.
"Good gracious!" cried Arabella, "I don't see how you got inside the door with all those things, for I saw her pinching your bundle, and you'd think that she must have felt those little parcels even if they were wrapped inside that cloth."
"Well, you may be very sure she didn't feel them, for if she had, I'd never had them to show you."
It was, indeed, a fixed rule at Glenmore that pupils, except by special permission, should bring no food into the building, the reason being that plenty of good food was provided at meal times, and eating between meals was forbidden.
Patricia's idea of a "treat" was a variety of all sorts, but never a thought had she as to whether the articles that she chose would combine well.
Arabella, often annoyed with indigestion, gazed at the "treat" that Patricia had placed upon the little table, and wondered how she would feel when she had eaten her share.
And eat it she must, for Patricia never would forgive her if she did not. More than that, she must not refuse anything, because Patricia would consider that a sure sign that her "treat" had failed to please, and for a week at least, would talk of Arabella as ungrateful.
* * * * *
In a room farther up the corridor, Vera and Elf were laughing and chuckling over much the same trick as that which Patricia had played, only that Vera and Elf had brought a huge parcel into the house, and had not been questioned regarding it.
It was late afternoon when Vera had returned from the village. Dorothy saw her far up the road, and wondered why she walked so slowly, but as she neared the gateway, it was evident that she carried a heavy parcel. Her storm-coat had a deep cape, but it only partly hid the bundle.
She looked up toward the window where Dorothy stood, laughed, and made a gesture to indicate that she was going around to the rear of the house.
"Nancy, what do you suppose the girls are up to?"
"Vera has just come from the village with a bundle twice as big as the one Miss Fenler found Patricia bringing in, and she has gone around toward the back door with it."
"She's trying to dodge Miss Fenler," Nancy said.
"But, Nancy, she can't get to her room from the back way. The back door leads into the kitchen. There's no back stairway."
"I know that," Nancy said, "but Vera isn't going around the house for the sake of a walk. She's intending to get in the back way I do believe. I wonder if she has coaxed one of the maids to help her. Come on, down the hall to the big window that has a balcony under it. We'll see if she really gets in."
Dorothy clasped Nancy's outstretched hand and they ran softly along the hall, reaching the window just in time to see a bulky-looking bundle swinging from a rope, and occasionally bumping against the house as it made its way slowly upward.
On the ground stood Vera eagerly looking up, while, from the window of their room Elf reached out, desperately struggling to draw the heavy bundle up to the window sill.
"Don't stand there looking up at me!" she said in a voice hardly above a whisper. "Come up here before somebody sees you." Vera lost no time in doing as Elf said, while Dorothy and Nancy wasted not a moment, but sped down the hall, and once safely in their room, sat down, laughing at what they had seen.
Meanwhile, Vera raced along the hall, and into her room, flew to the window and soon the precious bundle lay on the floor, the two girls bending over it.
"Oo-oo! Cream-cakes! A box of fudge, frosted cake!" cried Elf, then. "What's in this tin can?"
"Oysters," said Vera, "and we'll have a hot stew to-night after every one is in bed!"
"My! But how can we cook it?" Elf asked.
"In the can," said Vera. "That's easy 'nough. There's a pint of oysters, and three pints of milk all shaken up together in that two-quart can. We can heat it over the gas jet. I'm sure they'll cook all right."
"Why, Vera Vane! It will take hours to make it boil over that gas jet. I guess we'll enjoy taking turns holding it, while we wait for it to cook!"
"Pooh! It'll taste so good we'll forget our arms ache when we get the very first spoonful!"
Elf was not sure about that, but Vera had a way of speaking as if what she said settled the matter, so although not convinced, Elf made no reply. "Come! Help me put these things away," cried Vera. "We don't want any one to know about our fine little after-bedtime party, and we ought to hide our treat before some one comes to our door."
So the cakes and fudge were placed on the shelf in the closet, where with the big can full of oysters and milk they became close neighbors with the hat-boxes.
Then Vera and Elf sat down to prepare their lessons for the next day.
They had invited Betty Chase and her chum, Valerie Dare, to spend the evening with them, and enjoy the treat.
They were to go to bed at the usual time, have their light out at nine o'clock, and as soon as they heard Miss Fenler pass down the hall, and then descend the stairs, they were to open their door softly, close it behind them, and then, with greatest caution, make their way along the hall to Vera's room.
Night came, their lessons were prepared for the morrow, their lights were out, when they heard Miss Fenler pass their door, then,—why did she return and pass the door a second time?
Was it imagination, or did she pause before going on?
Their hearts beat faster, and Valerie laid her hand over hers, she afterward said, to hush it so that the dreaded Miss Fenler might not hear it.
"Has she gone?" whispered Betty, to which Valerie, who was nearest the door, replied with a low, "Sh—!"
Farther up the corridor two others listened. Not a sound was heard in the hall, and Betty Chase cautiously opened the door a few inches. A board in the floor creaked, and she shut the door so quickly that she forgot to be careful, and one might have heard it the length of the hall.
"Oo-oo!" whispered Valerie. "You let me manage that door, please, the next time it's opened."
"When'll the next time be?" whispered Betty with a chuckle.
"Now!" whispered Valerie, and stepping out into the hall, they carefully closed the door, then ran softly along to Vera's door, and tapped upon the panel with a hat-pin for a knocker. The door opened and they were only too glad to have it close behind them. Yet a bit longer they waited before lighting up, and while they waited, they sat upon the bed and talked in whispers.
The street lamp threw a band of light across the room.
Five minutes later, the blankets were taken from the bed and hung over the door, that no ray of light from the room might be visible in the hall, through either crack or keyhole.
A second blanket was pinned to the curtains, that neither coachman nor maid returning from the town might catch a glimpse of light.
Then the fun began.
They had become bolder, and forgetting to whisper, talked in undertones. Vera, mounted on a cushioned stool, was holding the can over the gas jet, and watching eagerly for some sign of boiling.
"The milk is steaming," she announced. "S'pose it's done?"
"Not yet, goosie!" Elf replied, "and I know," she continued, "'cause I remember hearing our cook say that the stew was ready when the oysters looked all puckered around their edges."
"O gracious! If that's true, somebody'll have to come and hold this old can a while. My arm is about broken!"
Betty seized the can, and mounted the stool, and Vera, thus relieved, ran to the closet, returning with the cream-cakes and the fudge.
The white counterpane stripped from the bed, and spread upon the floor, served as a lunch-cloth, and when the "goodies" were set upon it, the big can in the center, steaming, if not boiling, the four sat cross-legged around the feast, and prepared to enjoy it.
Salt and pepper in abundance had been thrown into the can, so that while it lacked sufficient cooking, it surely did not lack seasoning.
Bravely each tried to eat her share, but so salt was it, that it almost brought the tears.
The cream-cakes were fine, and the girls were laughing softly over Betty's remark that no one knew of their little "party," when a knock upon the door caused Valerie to drop her cream-cake. In an instant she had rolled over, crawled under the bed, Betty following, while Vera and Elf sprang into bed, drawing the coverings to their chins to hide that they were fully dressed. It was one of Miss Fenler's rules that pupils should never lock their doors.
Now in a harsh voice she called: "Open this door at once!"
Vera sprang to the floor, shut off the gas, softly turned the key in the lock, and was back in bed and covered up to her eyes, in a second.
Upon opening the door, Miss Fenler stumbled into the blanket that hung from the door-frame. Crossing the room to light the gas, she put her right foot directly upon a cream-cake, while with her left she upset the can of stew.
An angry exclamation, properly stifled, caused the two under the bed to nudge each other, while struggling not to laugh.
Vera and Elf lay quite still, the puff drawn up to their closely shut eyes.
Miss Fenler lit the gas, and it was just as well that the culprits dared not open their eyes, for the face that she turned toward them was not pleasant to see.
She was desperately angry.
"What does this mean?" she cried shrilly.
Vera and Elf breathed heavily, as if soundly sleeping.
"You're not asleep!" she declared, "and I insist that you answer me. Again I ask, what does this mean?"
Vera and Elf breathed harder than before, Vera adding a soft little snore.
"Oh, very well!" cried Miss Fenler. "If you are determined not to reply to-night, I will report you to Mrs. Marvin, and you may make your explanations to her to-morrow."
She left the room, her anger increased by their obstinate pretense of slumber.
A WONDERFUL TONIC
Vera awoke long before daylight, and lay thinking.
"That's just the way I do things," she said in a voice barely above a whisper.
"I plan the fun, and always have a good time, that is 'most' always, but it's sure to wind up in a scrape. I plan how to get into mischief. Why don't I ever plan how to get out?"
Elf stirred uneasily, and Vera gave her shoulder a vigorous shake.
"Wake up!" she commanded. "Wake up, and help me plan what we'd better say when we have to face Mrs. Marvin."
"Oh, I'm sleepy," drawled Elf. "We're smart enough to say something when she stares at us over her spectacles. We'll say we—"
A wee snore finished the sentence, and Vera turned over with a lurch that shook the bed.
She thought it very hard that she must lie awake and worry, while Elf could sleep; in short, she wanted some one to worry with her.
"It's like the way I climb trees when we're away in the summer," she muttered.
"It's fine climbing up, but I'm always afraid to climb down. If Bob is near, I can always make him get me down, but Bob isn't here to get me out of this mess, and Elf won't even try to keep awake to help me think."
She concluded that it was very unfeeling for Elf to be so sleepy. Her cheeks were flushed, and her head ached.
"O dear!" she whispered, softly, "Dorothy Dainty and Nancy Ferris are full of fun, but they never get into a regular fix such as I'm in now. I don't see how they manage to have such good times without ever getting mixed up in something that's hard to explain. And Betty and Valerie will get off Scot free, for 'The Fender' couldn't see them under the bed, and of course we'll not tell that they were there."
She did not know that when Betty and Valerie had reached their own room they found that in their haste to arrive at the "feast" they had left the light burning in their room!
Oh, indeed Miss Fenler had seen that, and she had opened the door. She had found no one there. She had seen that four had been enjoying the feast, because at each of the four sides of the spread were fragments of partly eaten cream-cakes, or bits of fruitcakes. Her sharp eyes had seen enough to assure her that two other girls were in hiding somewhere in the room, doubtless the two whose light had been left burning. She thought it clever to let them think that they had escaped notice. Their surprise would be greater when she sent them to Mrs. Marvin the next morning. Daylight found Vera tossing and turning, while Elf was dreaming. It was not that Vera could not bear reproof. She could listen for a half-hour to a description of her faults, and look like a cheerful flaxen-haired sprite all the while. That which now worried her was the thought that Mrs. Marvin might send her home.
It was the fifth time during the month that she had been reprimanded, and even gentle Mrs. Marvin might reach the limit of her patience.
Her father, she knew, would speak reprovingly, and then laugh at her. Her mother, always weak-willed, would say: "Vera, dear, I wonder if you were really naughty, or if it was that they didn't quite understand you."
Oh, there was nothing to fear about being sent home, but the fact that thus she would lose a deal of fun that she could so enjoy with a lot of lively girls of her own age.
She resolved to appear as off-hand as usual, unless Mrs. Marvin should say that she must not remain at Glenmore, when she would throw pride to the winds, and plead, yes, even beg to continue as a pupil of the school. She turned and looked at Elf, still soundly sleeping.
"O dear! I'm the only girl in school who has anything to fret over," she whispered.
It happened, however, that at the far end of the building, another girl was quite as worried as Vera, but it was a very different matter that had caused her to wake, as Vera had, before daybreak.
She had entered Glenmore a few weeks after school had opened, and was rather a quiet girl, as yet acquainted with but few of the pupils.
Some one circulated the story that she was being educated by an uncle who was a very rich man. Patricia Levine had added that as he lived in "N'York," and as her mother also lived there, she, of course, knew him, and she had told Patricia that old Mr. Mayo was more than rich, that he was many, many times a millionaire.
"Ida Mayo is to be an heiress, and have all that money. Just think of that!" Patricia had said, and immediately began to be very friendly with her.
Betty Chase boldly asked Patricia why it followed that because Mrs. Levine and old Mr. Mayo lived in New York they must, of course, be acquainted, to which Patricia snapped.
"I didn't say they must be acquainted. I said 'they are'!"
Ida Mayo seemed not to notice that Patricia sought to be friendly, nor did she make any effort to become acquainted with any of the other pupils.
She seemed content to stand apart and watch the others in their games. It was Dorothy Dainty who seemed to hold her attention, and once Betty Chase asked boldly: "I wonder why you watch Dorothy so much."
"I don't know," Ida had said, then added, "I guess it's because she's worth looking at?"
Secretly she envied Dorothy's lovely color, and wished that her own cheeks were as fresh and fair. That evening in her little room, she looked in disgust at her reflection in the mirror. A pale face returned her gaze, and she made a grimace.
"It's bad enough to be pale without having a few of last summer's freckles left to make it worse," she cried.
There were lessons to be prepared for the morrow, but the reflection in the mirror had so disturbed her that she cast lessons aside and commenced reading a story in a new magazine. The heroine was described as having a wonderful complexion, as fair, as pink and white, as perfect in coloring as a sea-shell.
"Of course!" said Ida, "and that's the sort I wish I had."
Her eyes strayed from the story of the beautiful heroine to the advertising column.
"Raise mushrooms," read one advertisement, next: "Try our patent collar-button," then: "Write poems for us."
"How stupid!" she said. "Who'd want to raise mushrooms, I'd like to know? Who wants their old collar-buttons? And for mercy's sake, how many people who read those advertising columns can write poetry?"
She was about to toss the magazine upon the couch, when two words in large print caught her attention.
"What's that?" she whispered.
"Banish freckles and have a perfect complexion," she read. "Send fifty cents to us, or obtain our tonic at any drug-store. Directions inside package."
It must have been the best of good luck that had prompted her to neglect her lessons, and spend the evening hours with the magazine, she thought.
She was far too impatient to wait to receive the tonic by mail.
She had never been to the local drug-store, so the clerks would not know her, but if any of the Glenmore girls were there, she would buy some candy, and wait until another day to obtain the tonic.
She drew a long breath when she saw, upon entering, that she was the only customer.
The clerk thought it odd that a little girl should be buying a complexion-beautifier, but concluded that she, doubtless, was doing the errand for some older person.
Night came, and at the hour when Vera and Elf with Betty and Valerie were tasting their goodies, and listening to every sound that might be approaching footsteps, Ida Mayo, not a whit less excited, was breathlessly reading the directions for applying the tonic.
"Spread the tonic over the face, rubbing it thoroughly into the skin. Let it remain all night. You will be astonished at the result."
A dozen times during the night she had been awakened with the scalding, burning of her face. The directions had said that the skin would probably burn, but the result in the morning would fully repay the user, by the extreme loveliness of the radiant complexion!
Ida bore the burning bravely, but when the first faint light appeared she sat up in bed, pressing her hands to her smarting cheeks.
"If the freckles are gone, and my skin is fair, I won't say a word about this burning," she said. "But how," she continued, "can my face look even half-way decent, when it is smarting so furiously?"
At last, she could bear it no longer, and springing out of bed, she ran to the dresser, and gasped as she looked at her reflection. Even in the dim light of the dawn of a cloudy day, she saw that her cheeks, her forehead, her chin, were all very red.
Were they spotty as well?
"O dear! If it was only light enough for me to really see!" she whispered.
She looked at the tiny clock. At that early hour no one was stirring at Glenmore.
No one would see her if she went down to the door, and it would be lighter there. A gable shaded the window, and made her room less light.
Thrusting her tangled locks up under the elastic of her muslin cap, and throwing on a loose sack, she snatched the hand-mirror from her dresser, and softly yet swiftly went out into the hall and down the stairs.
She paused in the lower hall, there thinking that she heard some one coming, she rushed out on the piazza, down the steps, and across the lawn to an open space where nothing could obscure the light. Already it was growing lighter, and she lifted the hand-mirror. A look of horror swept over her little face.
"Oh, what a fright!" she cried, as she stood staring at the reflection.
Her face was scarlet, and if the freckles had disappeared, it was because they had taken the skin with them when they went!
For a moment she stood as if rooted to the spot, then realizing that some restless pupil might be up and chance to see her from the window, she turned and ran at top speed toward the house. The big door stood open as she had left it, and she raced across the hall and up the stairway, entering her room just as footsteps echoed along the hall.
She closed the door and sat down.
"Why did I see that horrid old advertisement?" she exclaimed. Her smarting, burning cheeks were enough to bear, but worse than that was the thought that she would be compelled to appear in the class-room.
How the girls would stare at her! What would they say among themselves?
Vera believed herself to be the only girl at Glenmore who had even the slightest reason for worrying. Ida Mayo possessed the same idea.
* * * * *
Mrs. Marvin listened to all that Miss Fenler had to say about the feast, the two who had planned it, and the other two who beyond a doubt had been invited guests.
"And I should send them home, and at the same time mail a tart letter to their parents telling them that their room was better than their company."
Mrs. Marvin looked up at the thin, harsh face of her assistant.
"Mercy is sometimes as valuable in a case like this, as extreme severity," she said.
"They have broken a well-known rule here, and must be dealt with accordingly. They must be made clearly to understand that a repetition would not be overlooked."
"I am only an assistant," Miss Fenler said, "but I have my opinions, and I can't help thinking that you are too gentle with them."
"They have been mischievous, surely, but had their mischief been such as would harm, or annoy their classmates, I should have been more severe.
"You may send them to me. I will see them before the school opens for the morning session."
"There is another pupil that I must speak of, and that is the Mayo girl. It has been her habit to keep apart from the other girls. She seems to prefer to spend much of her leisure time not only indoors, but in her room.
"Lina Danford, the little girl whose room is next hers told me that Ida Mayo had been crying ever since daybreak. Lina thought that she must be ill, and she knocked at the door, but while for a moment the crying ceased, there was no answer, even when the knock was several times repeated."
"Have you tried to rouse her?" Mrs. Marvin said, her fine face showing genuine alarm.
"I knocked three times, but received no reply, and the door is locked."
"I will go to her," Mrs. Marvin said. "You may open school for me. Say nothing to the other girls. I will talk with them at the noon recess."
Mrs. Marvin hurried up the stairway, and along the upper hall to the corner room. She paused before tapping. If Ida Mayo had been crying, she was not crying now.
She knocked and waited. Knocked again, and again she waited.
"Ida, you must open your door for me. This is Mrs. Marvin."
The morning session had opened, and fresh young voices could be plainly heard. They were singing Ida's favorite, an old song, "All hail, pleasant morning."
Mrs. Marvin heard a faint sob.
"Ida, I am your friend. Let me in, and tell me what troubles you." No response.
"Open the door quickly, or I shall call Marcus to force it open."
Ida opened the door with a jerk.
"There!" she cried, angrily. "I don't see why I could not stay alone in my room until I looked fit to be seen!"
Mrs. Marvin thought the raw, scarlet face denoted some desperate illness, but chancing to look toward the dresser, she caught sight of the bottle, uncorked, and with its showy label bearing the legend:
"TONIC. TWELVE-HOUR BEAUTIFIER."
Mrs. Marvin sat down upon a low seat, and drew Ida down beside her, and patiently she listened to the story of the longing for beauty, the reading of the advertisement.
"I s'pose I put on too much," Ida concluded. "They said, 'Just a bit on the tip of the fingers rubbed into the skin each night for two weeks would work wonders.
"They said used generously you'd be surprised at the result! I guess I was.
"I thought if a little would do so much, a lot of it would do more, so I put it on thick, and went to bed.
"O dear! It has been a comfort to tell you, but I can't face those girls while I look like this!"
"I shall not ask you to," Mrs. Marvin said. "I will bring you some cooling ointment to heal your face, and I'll send old Judy up with your meals.
"I will tell her to say to any pupils who may question her, 'Miss Mayo feels so miserable that she'll not come down to her meals for a few days.' Judy is absolutely trustworthy."
Judy proved herself quick-witted, for when an inquisitive pupil tried to peep into the room as she entered with the tray, Judy turned sharply, remarking:
"Ah don' s'pose yo wants ter ketch anythin' what's 'tagious, does ya?"
The pupil backed away from the door, when at a distance she said: "You don't seem to be much afraid."
"Ah isn't 'fraid, 'cause I's had dis same ting."
She had indeed suffered in the same way. True it was not freckles that annoyed her. It was a longing to rid herself of her black skin that had tempted her to purchase a bottle of a so-called beautifier, warranted to produce a new skin.
That was some years before, but Judy remembered it.
A SLEIGHING PARTY
Dorothy was never inclined toward mischief, and now, when her mother was away traveling for change of scene, and much-needed rest, she felt very eager to send each month, a fine report of her progress. Dorothy was full of life, and loved a good time, if Nancy, her dearest friend might enjoy it with her.
When the news was circulated that the great sleigh at the livery stable had been chartered by Mrs. Marvin, and that sleigh-rides would be in order as long as the snow lasted, none was more eager for the pleasure than Dorothy.
To be sure, she had always enjoyed plenty of sleigh-rides when at home at the Stone House, but here was a novelty! The big sleigh at Glenmore would hold twenty girls, while the beautiful Russian sleigh at the Stone House held four, and the pony sleigh two. Mrs. Marvin, in making out the list for each party, was careful to place those already acquainted together. Thus, the list that was headed with Dorothy's name included Nancy Ferris, of course, then Vera, Elf, Patricia, Arabella, Betty, Valerie, and twelve others, who were at least slightly acquainted with those already named.
They were about evenly divided in another way. Ten were exceedingly lively, while the other half of the list were pleasant girls of quieter type.
Mrs. Marvin well knew that twenty lively girls would be likely to be a bit too gay for the steady-going inhabitants of the town of Glenmore, while the school must keep up its reputation for being cheerful, but surely not noisy nor flighty!
The day for the first sleigh-ride dawned clear and cold, and Marcus informed Judy that it was cold enough "ter freeze de bronze statoo down in de square."
They were to start at three, and promptly at that hour Marcus drew up at the door.
Eager to start, the girls were all waiting in the hall, when Arabella drawled:
"Every one wait while I go and get my shawls."
She darted up the stairs, Patricia calling after her: "Your shawls, goosie! Why you're wearing two coats and a sweater now."
"What did Arabella say?" asked Betty Chase.
"I thought she said she wanted the shawl to put over her ears!"
"She did say that," declared Patricia, "and won't she look fine; besides, how could she get them on when twenty of us are packed into that sleigh?"
"Oh, I'll help her with them," cried Betty Chase, with a laugh.
"So will I," chimed in Valerie.
"Here she comes now. Well, as I live, she has brought two shawls," said Betty.
"One for each ear," said Valerie.
Laughing and chattering they ran down the path, and soon were comfortably seated, very close to be sure, but very warm.
Arabella said that the two shawls were to wear later if it became colder, whereat, Betty begged her to sit upon them.
"You take up room enough for three with a big shawl under each arm," said Betty. "Stand up and I'll fold them so you can sit on them."
Arabella meekly did as she was told. If any other girl had done the same thing, she would have obstinately rebelled, but Betty had a way that was compelling, and Arabella, after she was seated, wondered why she had been so meek.
Patricia Levine had brought a big box of fudge, and she now passed it around. Arabella said she knew it would make her sick, but she took two pieces instead of one, lest the box might not come around again.
The route took them over a long roadway that had been cut through a forest, and on either side the great trees towered above them, their branches heaped with snow. The underbrush was beautified with what looked like patches of swan's-down, and a tiny, ice-bound brook wound its way in among the giant trees, disappearing behind a clump of evergreens.
It had been possible to see all these things because the road had been so rough that Marcus had been obliged to drive rather slowly.
Now, as they emerged from the wood-road, he touched the whip to the flank of one of his horses, and with one accord they sprang forward, giving the chattering occupants of the sleigh a decided "bounce," and stopping Elf Carleton in the middle of the story that she was telling.
"O dear! Where was I when that jolt came?" she asked.
"I don't know what you were telling," said Vera, "but it's my turn now, and I'm going to tell how awfully you acted this morning.
"Girls, Mrs. Marvin was perfectly lovely. She just talked and talked about how good I ought to be, but I didn't mind that, so long as she didn't say she was going to send me home. She never said a single word about that, but I didn't know she was going to be such a perfect dear. I woke before daylight, and much comfort Elf was to me! I tell you truly, girls, I poked her, I called to her, I shook her, but couldn't get her enough awake to say a word.
"Well, we're about even, for one morning last week when I kept telling her my tooth was aching, she paid no attention until I gave her an outrageous poke, and shouted into her ear, 'My tooth aches!'
"She didn't open her eyes, but what she said was a great comfort."
"What did she say?" questioned Betty.
"She said it might stop aching if I kept my mouth closed," said Vera, "and it took me five minutes to realize that her advice was more for her benefit than mine. She wanted another nap, and closing my mouth to shield my aching tooth would also prevent my talking. Trust Elf for making sure—Oh, look, girls!"
Every head turned.
A big red pung was coming toward them at top speed. It was crowded with more boys than could be seated, and those who stood carried long poles. From the top of each pole a broad, gayly colored streamer waved. As the pung passed a big boy in the center shouted: "Three cheers for the Glenmore girls!" and they were given with a will.
"How do they know that we are Glenmore girls?" said Elf.
"Three cheers for the 'What-you-call 'em' boys!" screamed Betty, and even Arabella added a faint "Hurrah!" to the general clamor.
Two of the boys produced a pair of cymbals, but while they were clashing Betty brought forth a huge gong and nearly stunned those near her with the noise that she made as with all her might she smote it.
"Hooray!" shouted a small boy.
"Hooraw!" howled Valerie Dare, and no one could have decided which laughed the harder, the pung-load of boys, or the lively girls in the Glenmore sleigh.
"Yo'-all behave like tomboys," commented Marcus. "Lor', but Mis' Marvin would 'a' been some s'prised ef she'd been here ter hear ye carry on."
"Well, if Miss Fenler had been here she'd have had forty fits," cried Vera Vane, "but, Marcus, what they don't know won't worry them, and you needn't tell them."
"And Marcus, you can forget all about the racket before you get home," said Elf.
"Shore, Miss, I's got a powerful short mem'ry. Gid 'ap!"
"Dorothy Dainty cheered as loud as any of us," said Arabella Correyville.
"Well, why shouldn't she?" Patricia asked.
"Oh, she's always so—oh, I don't know,—correct, I guess is what I meant to say," responded Arabella.
"I like fun as well as any one does," said Dorothy who had overheard the remark.
"Oh, but Dorothy, you aren't even the least bit rude," declared Valerie.
"It's not rude to cheer," Dorothy said with a laugh. "I think we were very polite to return their salute."
"Nancy Ferris cheered, too," said a girl who had been very quiet during the hubbub.
"I cheered because Dorothy did," she said, "but, Betty, how did you get that gong in here without any one noticing it?"
"It was under this long coat," said Betty, "and I'll tell you all how I happened to bring it.
"Monday, when I was down in the village, I met a boy that I know, and he told me that over at the boys' private school in the next town they'd heard about our sleigh-rides, and he told me that one of the boys, Bob Chandler, had bought a pair of old cymbals at an antique shop. They were planning their first sleigh-ride for the same day as ours, and they thought we'd have no noise-maker with us. I meant to get even with them, so I brought the big gong that hung in my room, and I guess we made as much noise as they did. I've a number of curios that my uncle brought home from abroad. Why didn't I think to bring along that funny little horn? You could have tooted on that, Valerie."
"Oh, I'm satisfied. We had noise enough," said Hilda Fenton.
At that moment there was a commotion on the rear seat.
Some one was twisting around so persistently that many were made quite uncomfortable.
Dorothy turned to see what it was all about. She laughed softly, and touched Nancy's arm.
"It's Arabella," whispered Dorothy.
"Yes, and she's trying to put both shawls on at once," said Nancy.
"Oh, quick! See what Patricia is doing."
Completely out of patience with Arabella's wriggling, Patricia was taking a vigorous hand.
In a manner anything but gentle she was pulling the heavy shawls up around Arabella's head and shoulders.
Betty Chase said that she was "yanking" them, and the word, if not elegant, was truthfully descriptive.
"Don't knock my hat off!" whimpered Arabella.
"I don't care what I do if only I get those old shawls onto you so you'll sit still!" declared Patricia.
When Arabella settled herself in her place she took a third more room than before, and looked like a little old woman rolled up in many blankets.
Arabella sat firm and immovable, staring through her spectacles. She did not turn to the right or the left, and one would say that she did not know that the girls were laughing at her.
"Don't you wish you had just one more shawl?" said Patricia.
"Not if I had to have you put it on," drawled Arabella. "You shoved my hat on one side of my head, and it's felt queer ever since."
"How do you know that the hat has felt queer?" Valerie asked, smothering a laugh.
"I guess you'd feel queer if Patricia Levine had once taken hold of you," was the quick response, and Valerie ceased teasing.
"Dorothy knows a jolly sleighing song," said Nancy.
"Sing it! Sing it!"
"Oh, please sing it, Dorothy," clamored eager voices.
"Sing it with me, Nancy," Dorothy said. "Your alto makes it fine."
Their voices blended sweetly, and the melody floated out on the crisp air, so that a tall, dark man left a wood road, and stood listening as the sleigh sped past.
"Over the ice and snow we fly, Oh, but our steeds have wings! And their hoofs keep time With the glad bells chime, For sleigh bells are merry things, Never a thought or care have we, Lessons are laid aside, And we laugh and sing, Adding mirth and din To the joy of a winter's ride."
"Oh, don't stop!" cried an eager voice. "Isn't there another verse?"
"There are two other verses," said Dorothy "but—I've forgotten them."
"Then sing the one you do know. It's worth hearing again!"
Again she sang it, as gayly as before, but for some reason, Nancy's voice trembled, and Dorothy turned to glance at her.
She saw that Nancy's cheeks were white, and her eyes wide as if with fear. A moment before her cheeks had been rosy red where the sharp wind had kissed them.
"What is it, Nancy?" Dorothy whispered.
Nancy shook her head, but the hand that held Dorothy's tightened with a nervous grip.
When the girls were once more chattering together, Nancy, leaning toward Dorothy, whispered softly: "That dark man that stood near the woods watching us as we passed,—did you see him?"
"Why, yes," whispered Dorothy, "but—" then she understood Nancy's fear. "Why, Nancy dear, your old Uncle Steve, who stole you from us once, is not living. Don't you remember that, and besides, that man didn't look the least bit like him."
"That man looked just like Bonfanti!"
"Oh,—oo," burst softly from Dorothy's lips, then she tried to comfort Nancy. "But why should he be wandering through the woods here? You've always said that he was a busy man, and once you heard him say that he had never been out of New York City."
"I know I did," Nancy said, "but I s'pose he could go somewhere else, and oh, Dorothy that man looked just like him!"
THE LOST NECKLACE
Nancy strove to be as gay as before. She told herself that the man certainly looked just like the old ballet-master, Bonfanti, but that he might have been a very different person. She did not wish the other girls to know that she had been uneasy or frightened, and so busy had they been in watching people whom they passed, laughing and talking, that Nancy's fright had passed unnoticed by all save one, and that one was Patricia Levine, Patricia, who seemed to see everything. She delighted in seeing something not intended for her eyes, and then how she would run to tell some one all about it!
Patricia had noticed Nancy's cheeks when they suddenly went white, she had seen the look of fear in her eyes, and she was wild with curiosity to know what it meant.
When they had started out Nancy had thought that the ride could not last too long, but the sight of the tall, dark man at the edge of the forest had changed all that, and when Marcus drove in at the gateway of Glenmore, and drew up at the steps, Nancy was the first to spring out. Without stopping in the hall to talk over the ride with the others who had enjoyed it, she bounded up the stairs, and soon was in her room.
Vera stopped Dorothy to ask if Nancy was ill.
"No, oh, no!" Dorothy answered, as she followed Nancy up the stairway.
Vera's question, and Dorothy's hasty reply reached Patricia's ears.
"I'd like to know what it's all about," she whispered, "and I mean to find out, no matter how long it takes me."
It was strange how eagerly interested Patricia always was in anything that did not concern her. She did not know that a newsmonger is never respected, nor did she know that no girl whose nature was refined would care to know other people's business. Nothing so delighted Patricia, as a bit of news that she could, by hook or crook obtain, and the added joy of running off to repeat it, especially if she knew it should not be repeated, was greater than she could have described.
Dorothy, when she reached their room, found Nancy sitting upon a low stool, her hands loosely clasped, her eyes downcast as if studying the pattern of the rug.
Dorothy closed the door, and then, tossing her wraps upon the couch, sat down, Turkish fashion, on the rug beside her.
"Now, Nancy," she said, "you're not to let that man you saw this afternoon make you so uneasy. It couldn't have been Professor Bonfanti who taught you to dance, and was so harsh with you. Why should he be out here, walking through the woods at Glenmore? And even if really it had been Bonfanti, why would you be so frightened? It was your old uncle who stole you from us, and made you dance at the theaters to earn money for him. Bonfanti just taught you because your old Uncle Steve hired him to."
"But Dorothy, you don't know how often he said, while he was training me: 'Oh, if I had you in my hands, I could make you earn twice as much as Ferris does!'
"When he said that he would look as eager as if he really saw the heaps of money that he thought he could make me earn for him.
"I don't know which would be the worse to work for, Professor Bonfanti or my old Uncle Steve, but this I do know: I hope no one will ever take me away from you, Dorothy!"
"And no one shall!" cried Dorothy, throwing her arms around Nancy, and holding her fast.
"I wouldn't have been so frightened if it was just what I saw to-day, but don't you know that just before we left the Stone House, I had a dream of being stolen. I'd not thought of it for weeks, but—well, that man did look like the ballet-master."
* * * * *
Patricia Levine had enjoyed the sleigh-ride. She had liked the clear, bracing air; she had liked being included in the list made out by Mrs. Marvin for the first ride of the season, but she had been annoyed by Arabella.
She stood drumming on the window-pane, and wondering how to begin the lecture that she intended to give Arabella, that is, if Arabella would ever get her wraps off, and sit down. She turned from the window.
"Well, I never saw such a slowpoke!" she cried.
Arabella blinked. Patricia thought she might as well begin, if she wished to say all that was in her mind before dinner.
"I certainly was provoked with you, Arabella, this afternoon. You looked just umbrageous with all those coats and shawls on," said Patricia.
"I looked what?" Arabella asked with a dull stare.
"I said um-bra-geous!" cried Patricia.
"I don't know what that word means," drawled Arabella.
"Neither do I," said Patricia, "but I know that's the way you looked."
"I can't unbutton this top button of my coat," remarked Arabella.
Patricia jerked the button from the buttonhole, and continued:
"How do you s'pose I like to have you act so queer, and then have the girls call you my 'chum'?"
Arabella instead of replying to the question remarked:
"And the fringe on this shawl has caught on a hook on my dress so I can't get it off."
Patricia's eyes were blazing. She was so angry that she hardly knew what she was saying.
"The idea! You had on two coats and a sweater, and as if that wasn't enough for any one girl to wear you went after two shawls. When you got all those duds on you looked as big as an elegant!"
"A what!" gasped Arabella.
"I'm too tired to say it over again," said Patricia, who now knew that she had made a funny error.
"But," persisted Arabella, "you said I looked as—"
It was no use to talk to the walls, and Patricia had rushed from the room, banging the door behind her.
* * * * *
There were weeks at Glenmore when everything went smoothly. Then there would come a week when it certainly seemed as if every one were doing her best to cause disturbance.
Usually the fault might easily be traced to the pupils, but there were times when Miss Fenler seemed as contrary as the most perverse pupil. On those days no one could please her.
Dorothy had little difficulty, but Vera, Elf, Betty, and Valerie were forever vexing her, and Patricia was never able to win her full approval. As for Arabella Correyville, Miss Fenler did not understand her, and Betty Chase said that "The Fender" fixed her sharp eyes upon Arabella, and appeared to be studying her as if she were a very small, but very peculiar bug that she was unable to classify.
There was yet another pupil who puzzled her, and, for that matter, puzzled the other pupils.
She was an old-fashioned little girl, who was letter-perfect in all her studies, but never brilliant, more quiet than any other girl at Glenmore, and so silent that one marveled that a little girl could be so still. Always neatly, but very plainly dressed, she looked like a little Puritan, and acted like one, as well.
And what a name the child possessed! Patience Little, and she lived up to it.
"Do you think she'd jump if a fire-cracker went off behind her?" questioned Valerie, one day.
"No, indeed, she would not," said Elf, who stood near. "I don't believe she would so much as turn around to look at it. She's spunkless."
But they were mistaken.
Among themselves they spoke of her as "Little Patience."
Once Betty Chase told her that she knew a girl whose name was "Patience," who was always called "Patty."
"My family does not like nicknames," was the reply in a low voice, as she turned away.
The day after the sleigh-ride, Lina Danford, one of the youngest pupils, came rushing down the stairway in great excitement.
"My amber necklace has been stolen! Girls! Do you hear? My amber beads are gone! Some one has been in my room and stolen them! Somebody ought to catch the burglar!"
Dorothy, standing near, put an arm around her, and tried to comfort her.
"Don't say it is gone, Lina, dear! It may be just mislaid. If you like, Nancy and I will go up with you, and help you hunt," but Lina was not easily to be comforted.
She insisted that the beads had been stolen, and that, therefore, it was idle to search.
Patience Little, for the first time, showed a bit of interest. She was crossing the hall when Lina raced down the stairs, and she actually paused to listen to what the little girl had to say. She said nothing, and after a moment, she went up-stairs.
She forgot to close her door, and going over to her dresser, opened its upper drawer. From a velvet case she drew forth a smaller velvet case, which, when she touched a clasp, sprang open, displaying a handsome string of amber beads. She held them up so that the light might play through them.
"I never wear them," she said softly, "but I've liked looking at them. Aunt Millicent gave them to me, and maybe I'd like to wear them sometime, but," she continued, "I'll not be selfish and keep them for some time. I'll give them to Lina, in place of those that she has lost."
Hurrying along the upper hall, Lina was surprised to see that the next door that she would pass, stood open. She was about to pass it, when on glancing toward it, she saw Patience standing before the glass, turning this way and that so as to get a better light on the amber necklace that she wore.
With a little cry, Lina sprang into the room. Patience turned, and was about to speak, but before she could say a word, Lina shouted:
"That's my necklace! I knew somebody had taken it, but I never dreamed it was a Glenmore girl who did it. I thought it was a burglar. Give it to me this minute!"
"This necklace is mine!" returned the accused girl excitedly.
Her eyes flashed, she quivered with anger. No one would have believed that the girl who always appeared calm, and rarely spoke, unless spoken to, could show such fire. One could not guess how the scene would have ended, but just at that moment a slight sound made both girls turn.
There in the doorway stood Mrs. Marvin.
"I am very sorry to see anything so rude, so unkind, and so unjust," she said.
"You were hopelessly rude to rush into another girl's room and accuse her, even if she were at fault.
"You were unkind, because you spoke as harshly as possible, and you were unjust, because here in my hand I have your own amber beads that one of the maids has just found.
"You must apologize at once, ask Patience if she will forgive you, and in your own room, try to think of some kind way to make amends."
Lina was crying now.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. Why do I never think before I say horrid things? Forgive me, Patience, if you can. I'll gladly do anything for you."
Then the surprise came.
Patience, the silent, shy girl, threw her arms about the younger girl, and held her close.
"The necklace that I have on was given to me by Aunt Millicent. I've never worn it. It is beautiful, but I like quiet colors. The showy things are prettier for other girls, I think. I heard Lina say that she had lost hers, and I was just thinking that I would give mine to her, when she rushed in, and—I hadn't a chance to tell her. That's all," she said simply.
"Oh, I was worse even than I thought," cried Lina, "and to think, Mrs. Marvin, that she was planning to give her necklace to me!"
"Promise me, Lina, that after this you will be less quick to accuse."
"Indeed I will, and Patience, if you'll let me, I'd like to be your friend."
"I'm sometimes lonely. I need you, Lina," Patience said, gently.
Lina never did anything by halves. She told her classmates how just at the time that Patience had been planning to give her own necklace to make up for Lina's loss, she had been harshly accused. She told how sweetly forgiving Patience had been, and wound up by stating that hereafter they were to be chums.
Mrs. Marvin, on the way to her own apartment, vaguely wondered what the next happening would be.
"I wonder if the entire week is to be a series of disturbances," she thought. "To be sure, there are but two days more, Friday and Saturday, but I should not be surprised if some one started something, so as to make the week complete."
It certainly had been a record week for petty annoyances, and to cap the climax on Friday, after lunch, Miss Fenler waited in the hall, near the door that led from the dining-room. She felt that she must speak to Patricia.
As a rule pupils were, of course, permitted to dress as they chose, but it seemed as if Patricia was actually trying to see how strange a rig she could wear and yet go unreproved.
On this day, she had done the oddest thing of all. She had tied her hair on the crown of her head with a yellow ribbon. The ribbon was very wide, and the bow was enormous. As if that were not enough she had taken equally wide ribbon, of pink, and of blue, had tied a large bow of each and then had pinned the pink bow to the right loop of the yellow bow, the blue bow to the left loop, and when she entered the dining-room the effect was, to say the least, amazing!
The bows were about eight inches wide. Really, Patricia was a droll sight!
Unless she were spoken to she would wear her freakish ribbons at the afternoon session.
When lunch was over, and the pupils came trooping out into the hall, Miss Fenler spoke to Patricia. When they at last stood alone in one corner of the hall, Miss Fenler mentioned the gaudy colors, and said that while the girls were permitted to wear as bright ribbons as they chose, they would certainly not be allowed to wear three huge bows at a time.
"The idea!" said Patricia. "Well, I guess I'll not agree to wear little stingy-looking bows for any one."
"You would obstruct the view of the large blackboard," said Miss Fenler. "No one could see around your head."
"I shall wear these bows I have on or none at all!" said Patricia.
"Don't be obstinate," said Miss Fenler. "Mrs. Marvin told me to speak to you."
"Did she say I couldn't wear these big bows?" Patricia asked, her eyes black with anger.
"She certainly did," declared Miss Fenler.
"Well, you can tell her I wear these or none at all," Patricia said, stoutly.
"None at all!" repeated Miss Fenler.
"Don't attempt to come into the class-room with your long hair untidy. Without a ribbon it would look slovenly."
Patricia's smile was broad, and her eyes actually impish as she left the hall.
"She's equal to pinning on a half-dozen extra bows if she chooses," Miss Fenler said, under her breath.
Glenmore, once a private estate, looked like an old castle, and the dwellings that were its nearest neighbors were owned by old and wealthy residents. No stores had ever broken the charm of the locality, and the sleepy old town had supposed that they never would, yet around the corner of a little back street, an enterprising Italian had purchased a wee cottage. After three days a sign appeared in his front window. It stunned the residents. It read:
ANTONIO CARANA, BARBER AND HAIRDRESSER.
Already small boys and girls might be seen, in charge of maids, trotting up his steps with long curls, and after a few minutes, appearing with a "Dutch cut."
Patricia, buttoning her coat as she ran, appeared at his door breathless, but eager.
"I want my hair bobbed, and I must have it done right off, or I'll be late to school," she cried, rushing past the astonished Tony, and mounting his big chair.
"Dutch cut!" she demanded, thinking that he had not understood her.
"Cutta da long hair?" he asked, lifting the strands.
"Sure," cried Patricia, "What else would I want cut off? Certainly not my nose."
"Alla right," said Tony, but he thought it strange, and wondered if the little girl's mother would appear at any moment, angry, and vengeful.
Patricia's temper had been gradually cooling, and now, as she saw the long locks that Tony had clipped, she was desperately sorry that she had come. It was half done, however, so she could not "back out." One does not care to appear with the right side of one's head with short hair, and the left side with hair half-way toward one's girdle!
Patricia sighed, and allowed him to continue. What else could she do? She had been proud of her hair, but when she saw herself in the mirror, her vanity came to her aid.
She had given up her fine head of hair, but look! Here was another chance to make a sensation. Not a girl at school had her hair "bobbed."
"Probably they'll tell me that only very little girls have their hair like this, but I don't care. They'll be surprised, and it's the only way I can go without ribbons, and I said I'd wear big bows or nothing."
Of course the pupils stared when Patricia appeared in the class-room, and that delighted her.
"I guess my Dutch cut made more show than my ribbons would have," she whispered.
Making a show was about all that Patricia cared for, the only other thing that she appeared to think worth while was meddling in other people's affairs.
WHEN NANCY DANCED
Mrs. Marvin decided to make the weekly socials very different from what they had been.
It had been her custom to hire musicians from the city to give a little recital, and then serve light refreshments, and allow the latter part of the evening to be spent in indoor games, or dancing.
The social part of the evening was always enjoyed, but many of the musicians, both vocal and instrumental, had given selections of so strictly classical character that some of the pupils complained that they did not care for it.
She determined to ask three pupils to arrange a program for each evening, each of the three being expected to take part in the entertainment.
One Monday morning she unfolded her plan, and announced that on Friday of that week would occur the first social having a pupils' program.
"I have asked Dorothy Dainty to take charge of the little recital, and I believe we shall enjoy it."
When the eager applause had subsided, Mrs. Marvin continued:
"The girl in charge of the entertainment must not be annoyed with questions as to the program because I wish the entertainment each week to be a surprise.
"Dorothy, herself must contribute one or two numbers, and I have appointed Nancy Ferris, and Patricia Levine to help her."
The pupils were wild with curiosity as to what the numbers were to be, but while a few hinted that they were eager to know just what they were to hear and see, they did not ask Dorothy to tell them. They thought it would be more fun to be surprised.
Dorothy found herself in an awkward place.
She had decided to sing a pretty waltz song, for which Nancy played the accompaniment. Nancy had at first thought of playing a piano duet with Dorothy, but Dorothy pointed out that a number of the girls, when it came their turn to entertain, would surely play, and she urged Nancy to do a fine solo dance.
"It will be more of a treat," she urged, and Nancy agreed.
Patricia declared that she had studied with a fine vocal instructor since they had heard her, and she also stated that she would sing a solo, or nothing.
Patricia, when at Merrivale private school with Dorothy and Nancy, had done some very funny singing, and Dorothy felt a bit nervous as to what she would do now, but Patricia insisted that she had rapidly improved, and there seemed to be no choice but to let her sing.
"Do make her tell you what she's going to sing," Nancy said, one morning, "because if she has chosen something you wouldn't like to have her sing, you might be able to coax her to change it."
Dorothy promised to question Patricia, but she laughed at the idea of being able to make Patricia change her mind after she had decided what she should do.
"What am I to sing?" said Patricia, when at recess Dorothy questioned her. "I'm going to sing something from grand opera. It's called:
'I dreampt that I dwelt in marble halls,'
and my teacher coached me on it, and he said I sang it just as it should be sung."
"If her teacher said that she sang it well, perhaps it will be all right," Dorothy said, but even as she said it she wondered just what Patricia would do. Patricia might do anything.
Dorothy took the time to practice when all of the pupils were out of doors at recess. She did not wish them to hear her song until she should sing it for them at the social.
Nancy practiced her solo at early morning. Mrs. Marvin had given her permission to practice in their reception hall when she learned at what an early hour Nancy was willing to rise in order to do it.
Patricia declared it entirely needless for her to practice, thus making Dorothy still more uneasy as to her performance.
At last the evening arrived.
Dorothy had told herself that if, after all, Patricia did anything as "queer" as she had been known to do, worrying beforehand would not mend matters. She knew if she became nervous regarding Patricia, she could not do her own solo well. Patricia had asked that her number might be the last on the program, and Dorothy had agreed.
As Patricia usually wished to be first in anything, and was offended if not given precedence, it certainly looked as if she were planning to have her solo the crowning event of the evening.
Soon after seven a buzz of voices told Dorothy that the pupils had assembled early, and she would have joined them, but Mrs. Marvin had said that each of the soloists must be announced, and must come onto the stage, and greet her audience as if she were a professional.
All had been carefully arranged, and Vera Vane was to announce each performer.
Dorothy had chosen a light-blue dress, her pumps and hose of the same shade. The dress was charming, because of its lovely coloring, and its graceful lines.
Very clearly Vera announced:
"The first number to-night will be a waltz song by Dorothy Dainty."
Dorothy's voice had been carefully trained, and very sweetly she sang, one especial charm being that every word could be clearly heard, which is more than can be said of many singers who have studied for years.
She had chosen "Asphodel's Song."
How sweet was the voice, how happy her smile as she sang:
"Oh, how lovely are my flowers In the morning wet with dew, Ah, they courtesy to the morning Off'ring gifts of fragrance new. Then the sound of bird wings whirring Wake again the drowsy trees, And the tiny brooks are stirring, Running onward to the sea. Oh, how lovely are my flowers When the twilight shadows creep, Hosts of fairy folks come trooping, Where my flowers lie asleep."
Surely no singer was ever more graciously received.
There were to be no encores because of limited time.
Lights were usually out at nine-thirty, but the socials were from eight to ten. The concert must be brief to allow sufficient time afterward for games.
"The next number will be a dance by Nancy Ferris."
Nancy had stood in the upper hall, ready, when she heard her name called to enter. Here and there a tiny spangle caught the light, and the soft pink of her dress was repeated in her cheeks. She was happy. She was going to give pleasure.
As she heard her name called, she bounded down the stairway, across the hall, and up on the stage, looking far smaller than in her usual school dress. The pupils were spellbound.
Nancy had said nothing of her dancing nor had she spoken of having been a tiny performer at the theaters.
Now as they saw her whirling on the tips of her toes, dipping, swaying, doing steps of wondrous grace, they marveled at the skill with which she did it. At home, at the Stone House, Dorothy had often played for her, but to-night she seemed to out-do herself.
Nancy swung forward, then with cunning steps retreated, crossed her feet and did the pretty rocking-step, whirled again, and yet again, did the pirouette to left, then to right, made a very low courtesy, and ran off the stage, followed by tremendous clapping.
How they wished that she might have repeated the lovely dance!
Mrs. Marvin closely watched the nimble feet and determined to know something more about the charming little dancer. And now—Dorothy wondered just what the next number would be. She took a long breath when, as Vera announced her, Patricia entered simply attired, wearing a pretty white dress, with a pale yellow sash, no other color.
It was remarkable to see Patricia without at least six colors.
"Perhaps she'll sing well," Dorothy said to herself, "for the lovely song that she chose for her number couldn't be twisted into anything funny."
Was that really so, or was Dorothy trying to think so? Was there anything that Patricia could not "twist" if she chose?
The charming old song is very sweet when properly sung, and the words fit the melody.
"I dreampt that I dwelt in marble halls, With vassals and serfs at my side, And of all who assembled within those walls, That I was the joy and the pride. I had riches too great to count, could boast Of a high ancestral name, But I also dreampt, and that charmed me most, That you loved me just the same."
So runs the first verse, but Patricia had never seen the music. She had heard the song a number of times, and felt competent to sing it.
Dorothy had asked her to practice it, then had offered to loan her the music, but Patricia declared that she needed neither practice, nor the use of the music.
"Are you sure you know the words?" Nancy had asked.
"Of course!" Patricia had said sharply.
Nancy played the prelude, and Patricia sang. Sang with all her might, one might say, but oh, the words as she sang them!
She had caught them as they sounded, giving never a thought as to whether they made sense.
"I dre-eampt that I dwe-e-lt in mar-ar-ble halls With vessels and safes at my side. And of all who had stumbled within those walls That I was the joke, and the bride, I had witches to mate and count, could boast Of a high and central name But I also dreampt, and that jarred me most, That Jew loved me just the same."
Was it strange that roars of laughter greeted the song? Even Mrs. Marvin, a model of all that was well-bred, covered her eyes for a moment with her handkerchief, but when she removed it, the eyes were twinkling and it was evident that only her self-control kept her from laughing aloud.
Dorothy's first thought was for Patricia. She knew it must be dreadful to be laughed at, and she was hoping that Patricia might not be too badly hurt. She would draw her into the games later in the evening, and thus cheer her.
It happened that Patricia needed no cheering. She was disgusted, but not hurt. She believed herself to be a very fine singer, and thought that the only reason for laughter was that her audience was dull, so dull indeed that her romantic selection had been mistaken for a comic song.
"The idea of thinking that song funny enough to laugh at! Why it is not a comic song at all. There's nothing funny about it!" she declared. "It really doesn't pay to sing for folks here. They can't understand what you are doing! The next time I sing, I'll sing for my friends in N'York."